The Celtics snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the winless Philadelphia 76ers on their home court. It wasn't pretty in the early going, but a rare strong finish from Boston fueled them to a 101-90 victory.
Aside from winning the opening jump ball for the first time all season, not a lot went right for Boston in the first quarter, as the Sixers jumped out to a 27-22 early lead. Both teams had a sloppy first half, with each side turning the ball over ten times.
Boston entered the game tied for third in Rebound Rate at 52.3, while Philadelphia is dead last with 45.8, yet the Sixers were winning the battle of the boards through most of the game and the teams finished tied with 44 rebounds each.
It was the Celtics bench that helped get the team back in the game. Brandon Bass led the way with a season-high 23 points on an efficient 9-of-13 shooting. Bass has struggled through some inconsistency this season while averaging only 16.6 minutes per game, but he saw nearly double that amount of time on the court tonight and made the most of it.
Boston's bench combined for 43 points in the game, with Marcus Thorton also chipping in 13 points. He drilled a trio of three-pointers and added four steals.
Not everyone off the Celtics bench found success though. Evan Turner missed all four of his shots from the field and finished with only 2 points in 15 minutes against the team that once drafted him second overall. The Philadelphia crowd jeered him relentlessly anytime he touched the ball, which seemed odd considering it wasn't his choice to leave the struggling franchise.
Jared Sullinger caught fire late in the game, scoring 18 of his 22 points in the second half - 11 of which came in the 4th quarter to help close out the Sixers. He drilled a dagger from beyond the arc with just under two minutes left in the game to essentially put the game away.
Boston has coughed up several games already this season with poor fourth quarter execution. As our Kevin O'Connor pointed out, the Celtics are one of the league's worst teams in the fourth quarter. That wasn't the case tonight, as Boston managed to push their lead to double-digits to pull away with a win. While we may have expected the victory to have come a bit easier against a Sixers team that ranks last in most categories, it was good to see the Celtics bounce back and finish a game strong.