Big 4th Quarter Helps Celtics Lock Up First Win of Season in Philly.
That’s right, the Celtics are no longer winless. It certainly wasn’t a pretty win, but the boys in green were able to put enough together to spoil the Philadelphia 76ers’ home opener.
Let me tell you, I’ve watched the Celtics play the Sixers plenty of times on the road, and that’s one of the most hyped up Wells Fargo Center crowds I’ve seen and heard. All this talk surrounding Philly’s young core of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Markelle Fultz, I was curious to see how they looked playing together, and I honestly wasn’t too impressed. I’m not exactly sure how long they were on the floor together, but their combined lines from this one are rather ugly. They shot a combined 27.7% from the field (10/36), committed seven turnovers, and had a +/- of -27.
In what was a sluggishly played game, it looked like the Celtics were either going to run away with it or get too far behind multiple times. Officiating wasn’t great, as both teams combined for 54 personal fouls in 48 minutes played and the Celtics managed to miss 10 Free Throws.
With no real rhythm established by either side until the fourth quarter, it was getting tough to watch. At one point in the third, the Celtics were down by as many as nine, but they managed to trim that deficit to three by the end of the quarter. With the help of Shane Larkin, the Celtics retook the lead for the final time with around seven minutes left in the game and never looked back, eventually winning by a final score of 102-92.
Kyrie Irving got back on track last night after a tough outing against Milwaukee. The Point Guard led the team in scoring with 21 points, while also tallying the most assists with four. There is room for improvement though, four turnovers to go with a +/- of only +2 isn’t great, but that can easily be fixed.
Poetry in motion.
— NBA (@NBA) October 21, 2017
Jayson Tatum surprisingly led the team in Blocked shots with 3, while also making all 9 of his Free Throw attempts. The rook definitely looks confident out there, which is what he needs given the fact he is averaging over 36 minutes per game thus far.
Shane Larkin provided a nice spark off the bench with the 19 minutes he played. Before the season started, I viewed Larkin as an end of the bench type of guy, but he might prove more valuable than that if he performs the way he did last night. Collected 10 points, made both of the threes he attempted, the last one securing the win, and finished with a team best +/- of +16.
With their first win in the books, the Celtics will enjoy three straight off days before welcoming the Knicks to the Garden on Tuesday. Limiting the likes of Kristaps Porzingis should be a challenge, but I’m sure Brad Stevens has some ideas up his sleeve.
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