The Philadelphia 76ers were looking to rebound from a bad loss on Wednesday as they hosted the rival Boston Celtics at the Wells Fargo Center on Friday. The Celtics presented a big challenge with their size and length as well as their defensive game plan and the Sixers had to prepare for a big game.
After a slow start that saw them trail 10-4 early, the Sixers finished the first quarter on a 28-4 run and that set them the rest of the way to thump the Celtics 111-99 at home. The victory ties Philadelphia’s home record at 9-9 and gives them a 2-1 advantage over the Celtics in the season series.
Joel Embiid led the way for Philadelphia with 25 points, 13 rebounds and six assists, Tyrese Maxey had 23 points and five assists, Tobias Harris had 17 and nine rebounds, Seth Curry added 17 and seven assists. Matisse Thybulle also had an impressive game on the defensive end and he added eight points and five steals with two blocks. Andre Drummond had nine and eight boards on the bench
Here are the player ratings after the win:
It was good to see Maxey shoot far from deep when he had the chance. It was something the Sixers wanted more from the young guard and he knocked down his first two triples which then set up other parts of his offense. He had two really impressive drives and finishes to help the Sixers take a big early lead. He then landed some big shots late in the game, including a corner triple to really put the Celtics away late.
The Sixers were able to play with pace early in this one and it allowed Curry to get an open triple. He also made a few plays with his stint and that’s something that continues to be a big positive for him. He ended up taking nine triples on the night, so that’s something the Sixers will take every night.
It was a much better game for Thybulle after Wednesday’s clunker. He had an impressive block on Jaylen Brown’s triple attempt, he got out and ran, and he even showed fire when he argued with former Sixers guard Josh Richardson after he was violated in a way blatant by Richardson. He was an absolute threat defensively coming into passing lanes and making big steals and he also knocked down a triple which is always a good thing with him. He did, however, leave the game with pain in his right shoulder, and that’s something that could be concerning.
There were a few familiar issues from Harris, but the best part of his game in this one was that he didn’t hesitate on open triples. They were quick triggers and that’s something that needs to continue. It’s been a tough season for him to shoot the ball, but when he has a chance to make open triples they have to be grabbed. Especially in this team next to Embiid. Another bright spot was his offense against small Celtics defenders, as he often used his size and strength in the post.
The big guy seemed to have a personal vendetta in this one, which makes sense considering it’s the Celtics and he was scheduled to fight Al Horford and Enes Freedom, but he was focused from the jump. He knocked down jumpers, he was aggressive on the glass and he made the right decisions with his passing. Boston went to a zone defense in the second quarter that slowed him down a bit, but after an adjustment he was back to being himself and taking advantage of the opportunities that came his way.
It was a bit of a dot-Drummond game. He was operating off the top of the key and he made some nice passes to a cutting Niang for a lay-up and then set up for Harris for a lag into the post. He was also very solid defensively as he deterred a lot of Celtics when they went to the rim by using his height and going straight up most of the time.
The fifth-year keeper from Turkey was active on the attacking side as he pulled the trigger on open looks from deep, he got into the paint and he set up open teammates. Considering the opponent is a rival, it was an impressive game from Korkmaz as he didn’t back down from the challenge. He struggled from top to bottom though, as he couldn’t take advantage of her open looks.
Niang has shown his intelligence without the basketball before, but there was one game where he faked one way and then cut the backdoor for an easy layup. He had a few issues on the defensive end, but for the most part he was solid all night.