Other Observations | 1.11.18 vs Celtics

by Brian Seltzer
Sixers.com Reporter

The following notes and nuggets were taken from the 76ers’ January 11th 114-103 loss to the Boston Celtics.

Click here for a complete recap of the game.

• Despite playing for the first time in seven days, the 76ers came out sharp. They snapped off the first seven points of the NBA London Game 2018, en route to knocking down 50.0 percent of their shots (12-24 fg) for the first quarter. They were also sound from behind the arc, going 4 for 7, and led 28-23 through 12 minutes of play.

• For the second game in a row, the Sixers built a hefty lead on a team currently occupying one of the Eastern Conference’s eight playoff spots. They were up by 22 points against Boston in Thursday’s second quarter. Last Friday, in a dominant 114-78 victory over Detroit (seventh in the East), the Sixers’ led by as many as 32 points before the half.

• The progress of Ben Simmons’ jump shot has been a source of great media and fan intrigue this season. In Thursday’s second quarter, he connected on a 17-foot baseline turnaround jumper…

...then, about two minutes later, an 11-foot fadeaway.

Simmons has hit 11 of 23 attempts taken between 10 and 19 feet over his last 11 games.

• Speaking of Ben Simmons, Thursday served as a showcase for this year’s first two Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month award recipients. Simmons did most of his damage in the opening half (when he scored 12 of his 16 points), while Jayson Tatum turned it on after intermission. The Duke product, chosen third in the 2017 draft, collected 11 of his 16 points in the third quarter.

• Final thing on Ben Simmons. The latest All-Star Game fan voting update was announced Thursday afternoon, and the Aussie gained modest ground, moving up in both the Eastern Conference guard and overall Eastern Conference polls.

The heady All-Star shoutout below probably can’t hurt Simmons’ cause.

• A key development that helped swing Thursday’s bout in Boston’s favor was rebounding. The Sixers entered the evening first in the NBA with an average of 47.6 rebounds per game (the Sixers are second in the league with 45.8 rebounds per 100 possessions), but the Celtics finished the game with a plus-9 margin on the backboards, 46-37. The Cs were especially effective on the offensive glass, outdoing the Sixers 11-3. This disparity led to a 17-5 Boston advantage in second-chance points.

• Kyrie Irving may not have delivered his most efficient scoring performance - 20 points on 7 for 20 shooting, while going 3 for 10 from 3-point territory - but he put the wheels in motion for Boston’s comeback. The All-Star point guard tallied 7 points and handed out 3 assists in the final six minutes of the second quarter, a crucial stretch during which the Celts shaved the deficit from 22 points to 9 points.

• Dario Saric really seemed to relish being back on his home continent. The Croatian had nearly three dozen friends and family members in attendance at O2 Arena Thursday, including his father, Pedrag, a former pro himself who had never before seen Saric play in a Sixers uniform.

Saric went for 14 points against Boston.

• Making up a sizable contingent at the eighth annual NBA London Game were professional footballers, including Wilfried Zaha. The winger has 4 goals this season for Crystal Palace F.C., which, like the Sixers, is owned and operated by Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment.