BOSTON - The Boston Celtics (34-12) took their second straight loss tonight as the Philadelphia 76ers (21-20) came to TD Garden and beat the Green 89-80. The Celtics did not have Kyrie Irving, as he missed the game due to a sore shoulder.
76ers all-star starter Joel Embiid stole the show, as the second year big man had 26 points, 16 rebound and six assists. Embiid is one of the toughest players to guard in the league, and the Celtics know that.
”Obviously they were missing their best scorer, but we still did a good job of denying everything,” said Embiid. “We disrupted the whole offense. They weren’t making shots, we weren’t making shots so it went both ways. We were just physical. Last time we played them, when they had the comeback, they were more physical than us so tonight I think we were more physical than them.”
Al Horford and Marcus Morris paced the Celtics with 14 points each, but the C’s starters in particular, really struggled. Both Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown went a combined 8-23 (34%) on field goals. Brown talked about the team’s effort.
”I just think we had a tough night trying to figure things out with Kyrie (Irving) being out. Not trying to make that an excuse but the ball kind of stuck on their side of the floor. We just didn’t get enough ball movement… they were switching everything and I give credit to the Sixers, they defended us really well.”
A touching moment came during the first timeout of the first quarter, as the late JoJo White was honored with a video tribute. His jersey, along with flowers, was also placed in an empty seat near the baseline lodge section, where White would always sit when he attended games. The whole building held a moment of silence to pay their respects.
After the first quarter (47%), Boston had trouble shooting the basketball. They dipped to 41% in the second quarter and never got over the 42% clip.
”We just didn’t play hard enough, on offense,” said Celtics Head Coach Brad Stevens. “And again, we played really hard on defense and it’s a testament to them that we knew coming in that you have to play with great intensity on offense to get what you want, because they deny you, they switch, they’re long, they’re athletic. Without (J.J. Redick) they’re going to play longer guys, so you knew there was going to be more switching. And we – very rarely do people talk about, like, the motor and the offensive – how hard you have to play on that end. And we just didn’t do it.”
Boston will next play on Sunday, as they welcome the Magic to TD Garden. Tip off is set for 1 pm and right after the game, make sure to follow CLNS Media for Celtics postgame coverage, as well as Patriots coverage, as they host the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship game at Gillette Stadium at 3:05 pm.