Every time the Celtics made a big basket over the final six minutes of Friday night’s game, the 76ers were there to answer. More often than not, it was Michael Carter-Williams in particular.
Boston crawled to within five points after Phil Pressey ripped a steal and slammed home a dunk with 6:26 remaining in the game. The play sent a sold-out Garden crowd into a frenzy, all until Carter-Williams took over.
The future Rookie of the Year hit a free throw on Philadelphia’s next possession to open up his streak of eight consecutive points for the Sixers. Jeff Green answered the free throw with a conventional three-point play, but Carter-Williams nixed it by hitting a driving finger roll and a jumper on Philly's next two possessions.
Those two buckets put the Sixers on top 93-86 but the trend of Boston fighting back and Carter-Williams responding continued. Brandon Bass swished home a jumper to make it a five-point game, and then the rookie cashed in on a difficult fadeaway jumper as he fell to the floor. Jeff Green then scored a basket to bring Boston within five once more, just before Carter-Williams made a free throw and Thaddeus Young scored four straight points to make it a 10-point game with 2:21 remaining.
The Celtics never clawed to within fewer than seven points for the remainder of the night and the Sixers pulled out a 111-102 victory. Literally every time Boston scored a point over the final 6:26 of the game, Philadelphia scored on its next possession. It all started with Carter-Williams, and his teammates followed his lead.
Key Box Score Line
There wasn’t much to be happy about Friday night if you’re a Celtics fan. Boston fell 111-102 to the visiting 76ers, but there was one bright spot: Rajon Rondo.
Rondo tallied his first triple-double of the season by logging 16 assists to go along with 11 points and 11 rebounds. The performance stands as Rondo’s first triple-double since the night he tore his anterior cruciate ligament on Jan. 25 of last year.
The night began with a bang from Rondo in the first quarter, though not in the scoring column. He tallied six rebounds and five assists in the first period alone. By the 4:46 mark of the third quarter, the point guard had already logged a double-double of 11 points and 10 assists. All he needed was a rebound.
Rondo grabbed that board just one minute and 37 seconds after checking into the fourth quarter. He went on to grab one more rebound and dish out six assists during the final frame to finish off his big night.
Friday’s loss drops the Celtics to 23-6 in Rondo’s 29 career triple-doubles. Though this one was a loss, it was a great sign to see the perennial All-Star return to the triple-double level we became so accustomed to prior to his injury.
Box Score Nuggets
- Henry Sims and Michael Carter-Williams tied for the game high in scoring with 24 points apiece.
- Boston outrebounded Philadelphia by a count of 49-34.
- The Celtics grabbed just four steals in the game to the Sixers' 12.
- Rajon Rondo's 16 assists fell just five shy of Philadelphia's team total.
- Rondo finished with a triple-double of 16 assists, 11 points and 11 rebounds.
- Boston had six players score in double-figures to Philadelphia's four.
- Sims shot 14-of-18 from the free-throw line.
- Rondo and Brandon Bass tied for the game high in rebounds with 11 apiece.
- The 76ers scored 54 points in the paint to the Celtics' 38.
- Philadelphia scored at least 26 points in each of the final three quarters.
- Phil Pressey (plus-four) and Kelly Olynyk (plus-three) were the only Celtics to finish with a positive plus/minus rating.
- Jerryd Bayless shot 5-of-12 from long range. His total fell one shy of Philadelphia's team total.
- The Celtics committed 22 turnovers, while the Sixers committed just 14.
Quote of the Night
I’m going to swing hard until 10:30 p.m. on April 16th, our last game. And whoever’s going to swing (with me), let’s go. Brad Stevens on fighting through the final buzzer of the seasonMore quotes >>