1. These Takeaways are going to be kind of quick-hit style. The hope is to highlight some of what the Boston Celtics did well, but to not sugarcoat what was a blowout loss. Here we go.
2. The game started out great for the Celtics. Jaylen Brown hit the paint, kicked to Dennis Schroder and he made a quick swing to Al Horford. You know Horford wanted this one to go down:
A couple of plays later, Horford went to work over Tobias Harris in the paint. This should have been an and-1:
3. This was a nice save by Al Horford and then a good extra pass to Jayson Tatum for the three-pointer:
4. After the above three, everything went to crap for the Celtics. After that hoop, Philadelphia outscored Boston 30-4 over the next nine-plus minutes.
Four points in nine-plus minutes.
It’s almost unfathomably bad. If you didn’t see it, you’d have a hard time believing that could happen in a nine-minute stretch of a game.
5. After that point, the Celtics played the Sixers basically even. Boston even outscored Philly by a 66-56 margin in the second half. It didn’t matter. The damage was done.
6. How did things go so wrong? Mostly, it was careless, sloppy basketball. The Celtics had 20 turnovers. Many of them were live-ball turnovers, leading to easy baskets for the 76ers.
Philadelphia scored 28 points off turnovers compared to the Celtics 16 for a +12 margin.
The final score was 111-99. A 12-point margin.
It’s not really that simple, but it kind of was. Boston was just sloppy with the ball all game and it cost them any chance of winning.
7. Romeo Langford got some early minutes when Ime Udoka was searching for anything to go right. There wasn’t anything there offensively, but this block on Joel Embiid at the rim was good stuff from Langford:
8. Looking for good plays from this game is a bit of a chore. Especially from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who combined to shoot 14-of-35 with 12 turnovers. But this was a good “process over results” read from Tatum here. He sees the double coming and makes the perfect skip pass to Brown:
9. Ime Udoka has talked a lot recently about running a rotation with the guys he can trust. While you don’t want to overreact to one game, it’s a little hard to see how Dennis Schroder is someone Udoka can trust over Payton Pritchard at this point.
Schroder was bad in this game. He shot 0-for-6, scored one point and generally looked disinterested. He was also involved in a dangerous play where he committed a flagrant foul against Matisse Thybulle on a breakaway dunk.
On the flip side, Pritchard was one of the few Celtics to play with any sort of energy and life. He scored 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Yes, some came in garbage time, but Pritchard was also putting up points as Boston attempted to come back earlier in the game.
Udoka may not be willing to trust the kid over the veteran. Maybe the team fears they’ll lose Schroder entirely if he cedes playing time to a second-year player. The real answer may be to trade him and take the option of playing him away entirely.
No matter what, no matter how, when Marcus Smart returns, Payton Pritchard should be the backup point guard.
10. Coaches always say the best thing after a blowout is to get right back on the court and play another game. The Celtics head home to Boston to play the Eastern Conference-leading Chicago Bulls on Saturday night. The Bulls are coming into the back-to-back off a worse beating than the Celtics took, as Chicago dropped a home game to the Golden State Warriors by 42 points.
Zach LaVine is likely out for this game, as he injured his left knee on Friday night. That should give Boston a major advantage. But “should” has rarely materialized into “did” for this team this season.
No matter what, it’ll likely be the lowest-rated Celtics telecast of the season. The New England Patriots play in the playoffs at roughly the same time. While some will go dual screens, those forced to choose will pick the Pats and catch up on the Celtics later. Can’t really say we blame them.
That said, Go Pats! A Bills-Bulls double-header sweep sure sounds nice.