A few times every season there are games that are just sort of sleepy. The crowd isn’t into it and neither team gives them much of a reason to get into it either. Everyone just seems to be waiting for the final horn to sound and to call it a night. Such was the case in Boston tonight, as the Celtics topped the 76ers 108-97.
Kyrie Irving and Al Horford got the Celtics off to a good start, as the Cs led 54-44 at the half. Irving scored 20 of his 36 points in the first 24 minutes, while Horford added 12 of his 21 points before the break.
Horford also continued his stellar all-around play with eight rebounds, five assists and two blocks. He was the primary defender on Ben Simmons and helped hold the 76ers prized rookie to 15 points on 6-of-14 from the field.
With the sleepy atmosphere, Marcus Morris provided a lift off the bench with 17 points, while also chipping in some solid defense on Simmons at times. Morris’ play off the bench helped stabilized a unit that has had far too many long offensive droughts this season. Jayson Tatum also hit double figures with 15 points.
Philadelphia played minus starting center Joel Embiid and backup point guard T.J. McConnell and the Sixers offense struggled without them. Five players hit double figures, led by Dario Saric with 18, but the team shot just 41.7 percent from the field for the game.
Boston made Simmons and perimeter threats J.J. Redick and Robert Covington the focus of their defensive game plan. Simmons was held in check, largely by the combination of Horford and Morris. As for Redick and Covington, they combined to shoot just 9-of-28 from the floor, as the Celtics ran a host of defenders at the talented wing duo.
The Celtics improved to 19-4 with the win. Boston is back at it next on Saturday afternoon, for a 1:00 PM matinee against the Phoenix Suns. That will be Devin Booker’s first appearance in TD Garden, since he dropped 70 points on the Celtics in a loss last season.