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Halftime hot takes: a classic Boston vs. Philly slugfest

Al Horford and Marcus Smart are putting on vintage performances.

Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Celtics against 76ers is a game you circle on the calendar. It’s always a good time with the fanbases going back and forth and some ratcheted up intensity. Make that a minimum four times a year, and you’ve got half a decade of entertaining basketball.

This is the first time the Celtics and Sixers have played this year, and Ben Simmons still isn’t on the court. Boston grabbed a large early lead, but the Sixers evened the score before the first quarter was over, and it’s been back-and-forth since.

Al Takeover In Full Effect

Al Horford started off hot with seven quick points on 3-3 shooting for the Celtics. Horford is back, baby and I’ve been waiting for this game specifically. Joel Embiid has always ran into trouble against Al Horford’s impeccable defense, and their late 2010’s battles were iconic during the underdog/Isaiah Thomas Celtics period.

He already has three blocks tonight, continuing to be one of the most entertaining Celtics to watch play defense this season.

Tonight is Al’s night, and I think he’ll carry the momentum from that hot start into a great second half.

Smart statline alert!

Marcus Smart got off to a beautifully Marcus Smart start tonight with four assists and zero points and zero shots in the first quarter.

Nothing like a game against a division rival to bring out the best qualities in Smart. It’s always fun to see Smart running the show and making great team plays. At the half, he has four points (1-2 from deep) with five assists. The lob he threw to Rob Williams was beautiful, and the offense with him on the floor has been better.

Menace Dennis

It’s been a tough go for Dennis Schröder tonight. He started off his night with two turnovers and one point, a -10 at one point through the second quarter. He shook off the struggle with a nice dime to Josh Richardson, his second assist of the night. But, sometimes he can really kill a possession.

Schröder still just has one point going into the second half. Thankfully for the Celtics, it’s been a good showing defensively from the team, so it’s made up for a slow start from Schröder.

Tatum on the Boards

Jayson Tatum has been great rebounding tonight, following his 10-assist performance against Toronto. He’s really impressed in other areas during the shooting slump, and tonight has been no different.

His nine rebounds lead the team and despite another inefficient shooting night, he has 10 points. All in all, a good showing.