If only Kelly Olynyk could play all his games against the Philadelphia 76ers. Given the current state of that franchise, most players probably feel that way, but Olynyk in particular seems to find success against them. A career-high 30 points from the sophomore big man led the way for the Celtics, as they cruised to a win in Philadelphia. Olynyk's previous career high? That would be 28 points, which occurred in a game in April last season against this same Sixers team.
Philadelphia opened the game on an 11-2 run that had Celtics fans a bit nervous about a potential let down against the league's worst team. Tyler Zeller picked up a couple of early fouls, which led to Olynyk getting into the game early to spark the Celtics turnaround. He hit 7 of his first 9 shots from the field to pile up 18 points in the first half as the Celtics extended their lead to nearly 20 points by the intermission. Olynyk looked as confident as we've ever seen him on the floor, draining open three-pointers and finishing gracefully near the hoop.
The Celtics bench came up big in this game with 61 points, so it wasn't just Olynyk thriving with the second unit. Evan Turner still draws boos from the Philadelphia crowd, but he had his teammates cheering with his 12 point, 5 rebound, 6 assist performance. Brandon Bass also chipped in 14 points on an efficient 6-of-9 from the field and was second only to Olynyk on the team with a +23 while he was on the court.
The 76ers entered the game leading the league with 10.2 steals per game - which as we could see is clearly the result of young players gambling in the passing lanes instead of playing quality defense. They did manage to force Boston into 22 turnovers, yet the Sixers managed only 1 fast break point in the game. Boston dominated the transition game, scoring 25 fast break points.
Nerlens Noel was a bright spot for Philly, recording a career-high of his own with 19 points. He also pulled down 8 rebounds and swatted a pair of shots - including one monster rejection on a Jared Sullinger drive.
Sullinger's slump continues, as he hit only 2 of 10 shots from the field for 5 points and missed both of his free throw attempts. He managed to contribute by cleaning the glass for a team-high 11 boards, but his offense has mysteriously disappeared of late. You almost wonder if a move to the bench would help jump-start him, similar to how it's rejuvinated Olynyk.
Philadelphia still hasn't won a game on their home court this season and the Celtics were able to take advantage of their struggles to snap a three-game losing streak.