Keys to the Game
Isaiah Thomas takes a jump shot against the 76ers

Keys to the Game: Celtics 112, 76ers 95

Key Moment
Key Player
Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night

Key Moment

David Lee said Tuesday afternoon that Boston’s starters must set the tone, and that the second unit must keep up.

Wednesday night, those roles were reversed.

Boston’s starting five came out of the gates against Philadelphia and looked very underwhelming. Rookie big man Jahlil Okafor (10 points, two blocks) and sophomore Nerlens Noel (six points, six rebounds, one block) dominated them at both ends over the first 12 minutes of the game.

The Celtics trailed by nine points before Stevens began to dip deep into his bench.

Stevens called for a timeout immediately after falling into that nine-point deficit. He subbed Evan Turner and Amir Johnson into the game to join fellow reserves Jared Sullinger and Isaiah Thomas, as well as starting shooting guard Avery Bradley.

That’s when the tenor of the game changed, and it all began with defense.

The fivesome of Thomas, Bradley, Turner, Sullinger and Johnson held Philadelphia scoreless over the remainder of the quarter (2:31 of playing time). Boston, meanwhile, scored four points to crawl within 26-21 at the end of the first.

Marcus Smart replaced Bradley to begin the second quarter but the C’s continued to impose their will on the Sixers at the defensive end. Philadelphia managed to score only two points – off of one made field goal – over the first six minutes and 56 seconds of the period. Boston forced the Sixers into 12 misses on 13 attempts, as well as four turnovers, during that timespan.

Oh, and the C’s took advantage on the offensive end of the floor.

Smart and the quartet of reserves opened the quarter on a 17-2 run that was highlighted by six points and an assist from Thomas. The Celtics assisted on five of the six baskets they made during the run.

Defense led to offense, and before they knew it, the C’s had their first double-digit lead of the night at 38-28. That lead eventually grew to 20 points and Philly never truly threatened during the remainder of the night.

Key Player

Isaiah Thomas just does what he does. And he does it well.

Thomas, who was electric for Boston during his 25 games with the team a season ago, continued to percolate at the offensive end during Wednesday night’s season opener. He scored a game-high 27 points despite playing only 29 minutes.

The great thing about Thomas’ offense is that it comes in so many ways. He scores in the paint, where he did the majority of his work against Philly. He gets to the line, where he shot 6-of-7 on the night. And don’t forget, he also shoots from long distance, where he connected on a momentous trey to close out the third quarter.

Did we mention that he can pass, too? Thomas not only led the game in scoring, but he also dished out a game-high seven assists. Add those two categories together and he produced 42 of Boston’s 112 points on the night.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Five Celtics (Evan Turner, Marcus Smart, Isaiah Thomas, Amir Johnson and Jonas Jerebko) finished with a plus/minus rating of at least plus-14.
  • Philadelphia totaled just 12 assists.
  • Boston assisted on 31 of its 39 made baskets.
  • None of Boston's players grabbed more than seven rebounds.
  • Nerlens Noel totaled the game's only double-double, with 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.
  • Boston scored at least 28 points during each of the final three quarters.
  • Thomas tallied game highs of 27 points and seven assists.
  • Rookie Jahlil Okafor scored 26 points for Philadelphia.
  • The Celtics led by as many as 20 points.
  • Jae Crowder stuffed the stat sheet with 14 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals.
  • Boston scored 34 points off of Philadelphia's 24 turnovers.
  • The C's made 26 of their 27 free throws, good for 96.3 percent.
  • Both teams scored 52 points in the paint.
  • The C's outscored the Sixers 28-7 in fast break points.
  • All three of Smart's made field goals were 3-pointers.
  • .

Quote of the Night

He's one of those guys that if you did the treadmill test on him, he'd run until he fell off. He's just got a high, high motor and doesn't stop.

Brad Stevens on Jonas Jerebko.

Key Player
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