Keys to the Game: Celtics 108, 76ers 97
Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night
Philadelphia rattled off a 10-2 run during the third quarter of Wednesday night’s matchup with Boston to take a 66-65 lead, its first lead since the 5:14 mark of the first quarter.
Timothy Luwawu-Cabarrot capped the run with a 3-pointer in transition from the right wing. It was evident at that moment that momentum had shifted into Philadelphia’s favor, and with that in mind, Boston’s players looked toward their bench to see if Brad Stevens wanted to call for a timeout.
“No,” he shook his head, as he sat between assistant coaches Jay Larranaga and Micah Shrewsberry and rested his elbows on his knees.
Stevens explained the decision following the game.
“I would have said the same thing everyone else in the arena would have said,” he commented. “Get the loose balls … I didn’t have anything to say.”
His team responded to the subtle challenge.
Philly scored one more point off of a free throw to make it a 67-65 game, and then the C’s went on a game-changing run. They ended the quarter by rattling off an 11-4 spurt that was initiated by six straight points from forward Marcus Morris. That run pushed Boston ahead 76-71, and it never gave up control of the game from that point on.
The Celtics led by two or more possessions for all but 52 seconds of the fourth quarter. They pulled ahead by as many as 13 points during the period before polishing off a 108-97 win.
Kyrie Irving scored 36 points Thursday night. Whatever. That’s becoming normal.
We had to look elsewhere for tonight’s Key Player, and we looked no further than Marcus Morris.
Morris, who was relegated to the bench Thursday night in favor of defensive stalwart Aron Baynes, was nothing short of outstanding as a reserve. He led all reserves in scoring by a landslide with 17 points, and he scored six straight for the C’s during the most critical stretch of the game, which we highlighted in the Key Moment section. The next-highest scoring total from a reserve was 11 by Timothy Luwawu-Cabarrot.
Try this on for efficiency: Morris made six of his nine field goal attempts from inside the 3-point arc, and he made all five of his free throws. His strong offensive performance was the key to Boston outscoring Philadelphia by 13 points during his nearly 28 minutes of playing time.
Let’s not forget about the other areas of the box score, either. Morris also pitched in five rebounds, three assists and a steal on the night.
Box Score Nuggets
- Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 36 points on 12-for-21 shooting.
- Irving and Al Horford, who scored 21 points, were the only players in the game who scored more than 18 points.
- Philadelphia outscored Boston 17-5 in second-chance points thanks to 15 offensive rebounds.
- Ben Simmons was limited to 15 points, seven assists and six rebounds while he committed five turnovers.
- The C's shot 50.6 percent from the field compared to the Sixers shooting 41.7 percent from the field.
- Philadelphia shot only 41.7 percent from the field, but it hit 50 percent of its 3s (16-for-32).
- Marcus Morris led all reserves with 17 points.
- the Sixers had six players score in double-figures compared to Boston's four.
- Dario Saric notched the game's only double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds.
- The C's forced the Sixers into 19 turnovers.
- Marcus Smart scored only five points, but he led the game in plus/minus rating with a plus-15.
- Boston tallied seven blocks to Philadelphia's one. Daniel Theis led the contest with three blocks.
- Marcus Smart dished out a game-high eight assists.
Quote of the Night
I know that's not a very long time away now, 40 days or whatever, but I think we have like 30 games before that.
Brad Stevens jokes to the United Kingdom media about Boston's upcoming matchup with Philadelphia on Jan. 11 in London.