Keys to the Game

Keys to the Game: 76ers 89, Celtics 80

Key Moment
Key Player
Box Score Nuggets
Quote of the Night

Key Moment

The Celtics didn’t have it all night. We knew that. The Sixers didn’t, either, at least until the final minutes of the third quarter.

Neither team could put the ball through the basket with any form of consistency during the first 33 minutes of the contest. Then, during the final three-plus minutes of the third period, Philadelphia suddenly caught fire, making six of its final seven shots and two of its three free throw attempts to pull ahead by 18 points heading into the fourth.

Joel Embiid was Philly’s Batman during the run. His Robin was surprising: T.J. McConnell.

That duo combined to score the Sixers’ final 15 points of the quarter. McConnell accounted for nine of the points, while Embiid scored six. Interestingly enough, Embiid also assisted on seven of McConnell’s nine points during the run.

This was the definition of a two-man game, one Boston simply could not stop. On a night during which both teams appeared to bring their B-games to the table, Embiid and McConnell – Thursday’s version of Batman and Robin – wound up saving the day for Philadelphia as the Sixers ran away with a 89-80 win that was much worse than the final score indicated.

Key Player

Joel Embiid was not very good during his first two games against the Celtics this season, compiling averages of just 13.0 points and 12.0 rebounds on 30.3 percent shooting from the field.

Those performances were an anomaly compared to his standards, and the Celtics learned that the hard way Thursday night.

Embiid, just hours after being named as a starter in the All-Star game, looked like one of the most dominant big men in the league as he racked up game-high totals of 26 points, 16 rebounds, six assists and two blocked shots.

That’s right – he tied or led the game in nearly every major statistical category, all while shooting 52.6 percent from the field and making six of his game-high seven free throw attempts.

Box Score Nuggets

  • No member of the Celtics scored more than 14 points, while three members of the Sixers scored at least 15.
  • The two teams combined to commit 44 turnovers (25 by Philly, 19 by Boston).
  • Joel Embiid led the game in points (26), rebounds (16), assists (six) and blocks (two).
  • The Sixers outscored the Celtics 46-28 in the paint.
  • Marcus Morris and Al Horford led the Celtics with 14 points apiece.
  • Ten of the 11 Celtics who appeared in the game committed at least one turnover.
  • T.J. McConnell led all reserves with 15 points.
  • Morris also led the Celtics with six rebounds.
  • Horford and Jayson Tatum each blocked two shots.
  • morris led the C's in scoring and rebounding, but the Sixers outscored Boston by 16 points while he was on the floor to account for the game's worst plus/minus rating.
  • Tatum, Horford and Marcus Smart, three of Boston's five starters, each attempted 11 shots.
  • Boston committed six more turnovers (19) than it tallied assists (13).
  • The two teams combined to score only 31 points during the second quarter.

Quote of the Night

I just don’t think we played hard enough on offense ... I guess it’s a unique game when you’re playing hard on one end but not on the other. We were just very sloppy.

Brad Stevens on why the Celtics were handled Thursday night.

Key Player