The new-look Celtics came away with a 112-101 win in to move to 2-1 on the preseason. It was their second consecutive preseason win against the Philadelphia 76ers, who dropped to 0-2 for the preseason.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown sat this one out, as did Joel Embiid and James Harden. The Celtics starting lineup of Derrick White, Jrue Holiday, Sam Hauser, Al Horford, and Kristaps Porzingis gave both the new backcourt and frontcourt duos an opportunity to develop some chemistry and get some in-game runs.
It was an all-around effort for the Cs. Seven players scored in double digits, led by Payton Pritchard (17 points), Sam Hauser (15 points), Svi Mykhailiuk (15 points), Porzingis (11 points), Holiday (11 points), and White (11 points), and Neemias Queta (10 points).
“We just have a lot of talent, a lot of cross matches, a lot of ‘advantage’ basketball players,” Joe Mazzulla said in his postgame presser. He emphasized the importance of the team playing with pace, a consistent theme throughout his media briefings so far this fall.
The Celtics led 67-59 at the half, and already had four players with at least 10 points (Porzingis, White, Holiday, Pritchard) by halftime. The game blew open in the third quarter, largely thanks to the superb play of Payton Pritchard and an 18-3 run that gave the Celtics a 90-75 cushion going into the fourth quarter. The closing period saw some of the Celtics end-of-bench players for the first time, including JD Davison and Jordan Walsh, the team’s most recent draft picks, and DJ Stewart and Wenyen Gabriel, among others.
Pritchard, Hauser, Mykhailiuk Stand Out
While the outcome of preseason games is somewhat meaningless, how new acquisitions perform is always of note. Plus, a win against the 76ers is always sweet, regardless of whether that comes in October or May.
Once again, Preseason Payton Pritchard was in full effect; he finished with 17 points and 3 assists in less than 24 minutes of action.
“He deserves this, he works his tail off every single day,” Hauser said of Pritchard’s performance. Pritchard has led the team in scoring in all three preseason matches after signing a four-year extension.
Payton Pritchard is not playing around, sheesh. pic.twitter.com/bo8NLYGl8A— Steve Jones Jr. (@stevejones20) October 11, 2023
Neemias Queta, the Portuguese center on a two-way contract with the Celtics, had himself another strong performance, finishing with 10 points and 3 boards in less than 8 minutes. Queta continues to emerge as an athletic back-up option at center, and he capitalized on limited minutes.
Svi Mykahiliuk continued his impressive play, converting on 3 of 4 three point attempts and grabbing 6 boards in 19 minutes of action. Sam Hauser broke out of a shooting slump, hitting 4 of 9 threes after starting the preseason off cold.
“You see one go down, your confidence goes up,” Hauser said after the game. “Shooters keep shooting. Eventually, they’re going to start falling.”
Notably, both Porzingis and Holiday donned Celtics green for just the second time, and looked both looked pretty good doing so. Derrick White also had a strong first half before entirely sitting out the second, finishing with 11 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
The 76ers were led by Kelly Oubre (18 points) and Tyrese Maxey (17 points). Jaden Springer and Paul Reed also stood out; each scored 10 points. Embiid and Harden have yet to suit up for Philadelphia this preseason, and Harden’s future with the team is in jeopardy after publicly expressing his desire for a trade.
The Celtics continue their preseason play on Tuesday at home against the Knicks.