76ers 79, Celtics 103
There was an aura of déjà vu tonight in TD Garden during Boston’s 103-79 victory over the visiting Philadelphia 76ers. For the second time in as many nights, Boston headed into a very important contest and used shutdown defense in the second quarter to blow the game open.
The first such victory arrived on Saturday night in Indiana, where the Celtics held the Pacers scoreless for the first 6:50 of the second quarter. Boston led by 17 points at the end of that stretch and the victory was never in doubt from that point on.
Nearly the exact same situation took place tonight in the Garden. Philadelphia managed to score more points in the first half of the second period than Indiana had the night before, but not by much. In fact, the 76ers’ stretch may have been even worse overall.
Philadelphia made only one field goal and scored a total of four points over the first 8:46 of the second period. The Sixers shot just 1-of-13 from the floor over that span while committing three of their 16 turnovers on the night.
As we said last night after the Pacers game, it was an ugly offensive exhibition by Boston’s opponent, but the Celtics were the ones who made it happen. They were flying around the court and at times it seemed as if six of them were on the floor defending five Philadelphia players.
And while the defense was shutting the Sixers down, the offense was red hot. Boston shot 6-of-12 from the field during the opening stretch of the second quarter and also put home six free throws.
When Avery Bradley put home a layup in the paint with 4:02 remaining in the quarter, Boston was already ahead 45-26. The overall run for the Celtics over the first 8:46 was 20-4.
Another important game for the Celtics, another dominant defensive performance in the second quarter, and another blowout victory. Boston fans could certainly get used to this.
Key Box Score Line
Kevin Garnett continues to tear opposing centers apart on a nightly basis. Tonight, his victim was Spencer Hawes.
Garnett scored a game-high 20 points and shot a ridiculous 8-of-11 from the field. He made all four of his free throw attempts to spearhead an overall performance of 16-of-19 from the stripe for the C’s.
As this number will tell you, his defense on Hawes was pretty good, too: Garnett’s three missed field goals equaled the number of shots Hawes attempted in the game.
On top of the lights-out shooting and defense, Garnett also tied for the team-high in rebounds with six and dished out two assists. Keep in mind that Garnett did all of this while playing less than 28 minutes of tonight’s game.
Box Score Nuggets
- Ray Allen scored in double-figures as a reserve for the third straight game. He finished with 10 points.
- The teams combined to commit 34 turnovers in the game.
- Boston (58.8 percent) outshot Philadelphia (38.2 percent) by more than 20 percent.
- Kevin Garnett scored a game-high 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting.
- The only two Boston players who made less than half of their shots were Greg Stiemsma (0-for-1) and E'Twaun Moore (0-for-2).
- Nikola Vucevic recorded the game's only double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.
- Vucevic led the 76ers in scoring as a reserve.
- Rajon Rondo's 15 assists matched the output of Philadelphia's entire team.
- The 76ers shot just 2-for-11 from 3-point range.
- Boston totaled 32 assists on 40 made field goals.
- Stiemsma blocked a game-high three shots.
- Four Celtics scored at least 17 points in the game, yet none of those players played more than 33 minutes.
- Every Philadelphia player who appeared in the game scored at least one point.
- None of Boston's players grabbed more than six rebounds, but six grabbed at least four rebounds.
Quote of the Night
Doug Collins on Boston's potential in the playoffs: "I think everybody’s sort of looking at Miami and Chicago as the two teams, but I wouldn’t blink at Boston. No, absolutely not."