The Celtics fell behind early, but came back to grind out a win against the Philadelphia 76ers, 107-106. Isaiah Thomas had a monster game, scoring 37 points on 11 of 19 shooting, to go along with 7 assists and 4 rebounds. Avery Bradley finished with 20 points and led the Celtics with 9 rebounds. Dario Saric was the scoring leader for the Sixers. He nearly notched a triple double with 21 points, 12 rebounds and 9 assists. Without Joel Embiid tonight they still made this a game by shooting well from three - 15 for 33 (45.5%).
Philly took the advantage early behind a strong start from Jahlil Okafor, who had 7 points in the first 6 minutes. He was 3-3 from the floor and 1 for 2 from the line to put the Sixers up 20-12 with 5:40 to go in the 1st quarter.
Don't think the Celtics planned to give up 20 points in the first 6 minutes to the 76ers but here we are— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) December 4, 2016
After a timeout the C's answered with a 8-2 run to come within 2 (22-20 Sixers) with 2:10 to go in the first, but Dario Saric hit a pair of three-pointers followed by one from Hollis Thompson to put the C's behind 8 (30-22) to end the 1st. The Sixers cemented a dominant opening quarter by forcing a 24-second violation by the Celtics to close the frame. The Celtics only took 2 three-pointers (missed them both) in the 1st quarter - they've averaged 31.1 per game this season.
The 2nd quarter started back and forth, but halfway through the Celts had still yet to make a shot from deep:
Celtics still haven't hit a 3 or grabbed an offensive rebound. 6:55 left in the second quarter.— Adam Himmelsbach (@AdamHimmelsbach) December 4, 2016
Only one of those two stats is surprising. Kelly Olynyk knocked down the first 3 for Boston shortly after, with 6:28 to go in the 2nd, to bring the C's within 5 (38-33).
The Sixers close the half strong, and went into the locker room with a 53-45 advantage. A pair of three-pointers from Avery Bradley and Isaiah Thomas in the final two minutes kept Boston within single digits. Thomas finished the first half with 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting and 4 assists to lead the Celtics. Bradley finished with 9 points and 6 rebounds, and last nights hero Al Horford was 3 for 4 for 6 points and 3 rebounds.
The C's shot the ball 48.6% in the first half, just ahead of Philly's 46.2%, but the Sixers were 9-18 from three - compared to the 3-11 Boston shot from deep. Sergio Rodriguez had a great 1st half, scoring 11 points (3-5 from deep) to go along with 5 assists, a pair of rebounds and an assist.
By the way, yes, the Celtics finished the first half without an offensive rebound.— Jay King (@ByJayKing) December 4, 2016
The Celtics came out for the 2nd half and managed to turn the tides behind a mix of defense and the Sixers just missing open looks - and 10 points from Avery Bradley. They took a lead (67-65) for the first time since early in the 1st with 5:29 to go in the 3rd. Isaiah Thomas was fouled on a three-point attempt and made them all to put the C's ahead, making this his 19th straight game with 20+ points to start the season.
Jonas Jerbeko hit a huge three to put the C's up 74-70, and then almost immediately got annihilated on the other end on Dario Saric crossover to jump shot that ignited the Philly crowd:
Dario Saric breaks Jonas Jerebko's ankles. https://t.co/J9krJVh3v8— RealGM (@RealGM) December 4, 2016
The Sixers closed the quarter with 4 straight points, and they headed into the final frame knotted up at 74. The Celtics were led by 24 and 19 points from Thomas and Bradley respectively - the rest of the team totaled 31 points to that point.
The C's came out firing in the 4th though, and made an 8-2 run to start the quarter behind a pair of threes from Crowder and Horford. Jaylen Brown had a monster block on the defensive end that led to a wide open three pointer from Jonas Jerbeko to put the Celts up 90-83 with 5:47 left in the game.
Philly marched back with a pair of shots by Nik Stauskas, but Isaiah Thomas answered back with a pair of baskets himself and the C's were up 6 (97-91) with 3:16 to go. The Sixers weren't finished though, and battled back to tie the game at 100 with 34.6 seconds on the clock - Celtics ball.
Isaiah Thomas had scored the Celtics previous 10 points to this point, and why would Brad Stevens call anybody else's number with the game on the line. Thomas took the inbound pass right to the basket to put his team up 2 with 30.2 left. The ensuing possession was a miss in close from Ersan Ilyasovo, and a fast break off the rebound from Boston led to a pair of free-throws from Bradley - he made one. 103-100 Boston with 16.3 to go.
That ultimately was the end for the Sixers. A final shot from Ilyasova at the buzzer ended the game at 107-106 in Boston's favor after free-throws sealed the victory. The Celtics are now 8-0 when tied or leading this year after three quarters.
Their next matchup is Monday night against James Harden in Houston.
Photo Credit - Jesse D. Garrabrant/GETTY Images
Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkAL401 Mark Allison 12/03/2016 10:14:00 PM Tweet Edit