The Boston Celtics lost the first game of the season to the 76ers 107-93.
The 2019-20 season started out rather sloppy for the Boston Celtics. Luckily The Sixers also started out sloppy. The score after the first quarter was 25-20 in favor of the Boston Celtics. But in that frame neither team was able to establish any kind of rhythm defensively or offensively. The teams combined to shoot 2-17 from 3 point land in the first quarter. There were some positives takeaways like Tatum and Hayward’s aggressiveness.
The second quarter was more of the same. More sloppy basketball. Not sloppy in the sense of a lot of turnovers, but sloppy in the sense of offensive execution not being as crisp as it could be. There were several different points in the second quarter when Philly fans started a quite audible “Refs you suck” chant. Which was quite amazing because the first time the chant broke out, the Sixers were in the bonus for the quarter. Classic Philly.
It stayed a close game at the end of the half with a score of 50-49, Sixers lead. It was the kind of half where you wondered after each basket if that was the one to get the teams in rhythm, it was not. None of them. The Boston Celtics forced seven Philly turnovers in the first half. Another positive was the Assist to FGM ratio. 8 Boston assists on 18 made field goals. That’s not normally great but when you consider the team couldn’t find it’s groove throughout the whole half, it doesn’t sound too bad to have an assist on nearly half of the made baskets.
All off season there was a lot of talk about the defensive potential of the Sixers. Early in the third quarter they showed that, and really clamped down on the Boston Celtics. More than halfway through the quarter the Celtics were held to 9 points. An early third quarter foul on Jaylen Brown left him on the bench, as he had five fouls in about ten minutes of game time.
Free Throws were not a big issue for the Celtics last year. They shot 80% as a team last year which was good enough for 4th in the league. Tonight they struggled, at one point shooting just 10-20 from the line. Some late drives by Gordon Hayward boosted this number up to 20 of 34. (58%)
The 4th quarter was more about the Celtics being bad than it was the Sixers being good. The Sixers kept up their good defense combining that with some fluid offense. The Boston Celtics couldn’t buy a bucket in the first half of the 4th even if they used Jaylen Brown’s contract. The Sixers starting 5 combined for 87 of the teams 107 points leaving only 20 points for the bench.
Kemba Walker– 12 points, 2 assists, 2 rebounds
Jayson Tatum– 21 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists
Gordon Hayward– 25 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists
Jaylen Brown– 8 points, 7 rebounds
Enes Kanter– 12 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists
Some things to consider after this frustrating loss:
Kemba Walker likely won’t struggle like he did tonight.12 points 2 assists 4-18 FG (22%).
The Celtics likely won’t miss 14 free throws in a single game for the rest of the season (lets hope). Bad timing to miss 14 FTs in a game where the Celtics lose by 14. If the C’s could have made all the free throws, the could have gone to over time still with Kemba having an off night.
Lastly and honestly most important, Gordon Hayward looks like Gordon Hayward. It may be too early to say it, but I honestly think he’s back. He lead the team in scoring tonight with 25 points shooting 8-15 from the field (55%) while draining 9 of 11 FTs.