The Boston Celtics led the Philadelphia 76ers by 16 early, but after a poor second half the Sixers were able to land the win in preseason game number 1, 92-89. Philly was led by reserve guard Brandon Paul and his 15 points (6-10) in just 13 minutes, he helped their second unit overwhelm the Celtics in the second half, and a couple of last second shots by the C's failed to bail them out.
Al Horford made his Celtics debut, and he did not disappoint. He finished the game with 8 points on 4 of 8 shooting to go with 8 rebounds in just 15 minutes on the floor.
Horford made his presence known early by scoring on his first jumper, and tallying 6 points to go with 6 boards in the first quarter. The Celtics defense looked to be in midseason form to start the game, and jumped out to a 15-5 run before a Philly timeout. The C's outside shooting was solid in the 1st, 5 for 12 from downtown led by 3 of 4 from forward Jae Crowder.
The Sixers' Joel Embiid finished his first NBA action with 6 points and 4 rebounds in just under 13 minutes on the floor. He showed some flashes of brilliance in the game, particularly with his back to the basket on the offensive end and rejecting a Jaylen Brown posterization attempt:
So things are going pretty well in Joel Embiid's debut... https://t.co/8z2Gfn58UD— max (@MaxRappaport) October 4, 2016
The Celtics finished the half leading 43-31, and shut down Horford and Amir Johnson at halftime. They started the 3rd with a small-ball lineup of Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, Crowder, and Marcus Smart with Tyler Zeller manning the center spot to less than stellar results. Philly marched out to a 14-6 run to start the half behind T.J. McConnell, who seemed to be everywhere, and ultimately closed the quarter down just 2 points (63-61).
The 76ers ran away to start the 4th quarter, but the C's battled back in large part due to Terry Rozier, who led the team in scoring with 12 points on 5 of 12 from the field, and Marcus Smart, who forced a turnover with 15.2 seconds left along the sideline to get the Celtics the ball down just three points. However, it looked like the play Brad Stevens drew up didn't quite come to fruition and Smart ended up taking a contested 3 pointer that didn't go.
That should've sealed it, but a poor inbounds pass on the Philly end lead to another opportunity for the Green Team. The C's got another look, and Jordan Mickey got off 3-point shot (you read that right, he took the final shot) that looked like it was going in...it didn't.
-The Celtics looked great when their starting lineup was on the floor.
-Al Horford looked like a seamless, and incredible, addition to the team.
Jaylen Brown takes it to the basket! pic.twitter.com/DD8EL4R81A— Boston Celtics (@celtics) October 5, 2016
-It seems coach Stevens has some work to do with that second unit.
Photo Credit: Chris Marion, Getty Images
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkAL401 Mark Allison 10/04/2016 09:41:00 PM Tweet Edit