Keys to the Game: Celtics 110, 76ers 102
Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night
The Boston Celtics were looking for a way to shake off the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night, as they clung to a 73-72 lead midway through the third quarter of their preseason matchup at Wells Fargo Center. All it took was a 9-2 run over a 53-second span to give Boston the separation it needed for a win.
Philadelphia big man Amir Johnson helped his former Celtics squad get their run started at the 5:24 mark of the third quarter when he committed a shooting foul on Aron Baynes. The Australian center nailed both of his free throws, which tripled Boston's advantage, but he wasn't done there.
Seven seconds later, Baynes intercepted a bad pass by Ben Simmons, and was immediately fouled by the promising 76ers rookie. Baynes, who was 6-of-6 from the line on the night, swished both freebies to give Boston a five-point lead.
Simmons then missed a layup at the 4:56 mark, and Marcus Smart was there to corral the rebound and then feed rookie Jayson Tatum for a driving dunk four seconds later.
Simmons would respond with a dunk of his own, but Kyrie Irving one-upped him with a 3-pointer at the 4:31 mark, which gave Boston an 82-74 lead.
From that point forward, Philadelphia would never pull closer than five points. Boston built its lead up to as many as 14 points during the fourth quarter, and walked away with a 110-102 win to improve its preseason record to 2-0.
Remember how frustrating it was being on the opposing end of a Kyrie Irving scoring outburst? Now, how nice is it to have his hot hand on Boston's side?
Irving experienced his first offensive outpour with the Celtics Friday night, as he scored 21 points during less than 25 minutes of play. He shot 7-of-14 from the field, including 5-of-7 from 3-point range, all while dishing out three assists and grabbing two boards.
As for the hot hand that we mentioned? It began heating up during the third quarter. Irving had 10 points at halftime, but it took just half of the third frame for him to more than double his scoring total. He tallied 11 points on 4-of-4 shooting (2-of-2 from long range) over a 6:04 span during the third, while helping the Celtics pull away from the 76ers.
For once, the Celtics could enjoy an Irving eruption, and they hope he has many more in store for them this season.
Box Score Nuggets
- Kyrie Irving was the game's only 20-point scorer. He logged 21 points during 24:58 of playing time.
- There were no double-digit rebounding or assist efforts by any members of either team.
- Al Horford led the game in rebounds with nine (four offensive and five defensive).
- The Celtics edged out the 76ers on the boards, 49-48.
- Philadelphia had five double-digit scorers, led by Jerryd Bayless with 15 points.
- Gordon Hayward, T.J. McConnell and Ben Simmons tied for the game-high in assists with five apiece.
- Both teams finished with 39 field goal makes.
- Jayson Tatum logged nine poitns and five rebounds in his first NBA start.
- No player exceed 25 minutes of playing time.
- Marcus Smart finished with a game-high plus/minus rating of plus-14.
- Smart and Ben Simmons tied for the game-high in steals with three apiece.
- The C's shot 21-of-26 (80.8 percent) from the free-throw line.
- Philadelphia shot a higher percentage from beyond the 3-point arc (45.2 percent) than it did from the free-throw line (41.7 percent).
Quote of the Night
Jayson is ahead of the game, which I'm appreciative of. He's working extremely hard.
Kyrie Irving on Jayson Tatum's first career start.