The first half box score would have led you to believe that Joel Embiid and the Sixers were processing all over the Celtics in London. But it was never as bad as it looked when the Celtics at one point trailed the Sixers by 22 points, and nine after 24 minutes.
So perhaps a second half domination from the Celtics, who bullied the Sixers around for a 37-point output in the third quarter, was to be expected in their 114-103 victory.
“We did not play well early, they played great; That’s a bad combination, usually,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens admitted. “There was no real panic, but we had to play a lot better than we were. Philly put it on us, they had a lot to do with why we were down.”
It was in the first half that the Celtics forced passes to players that weren’t open, let J.J. Redick and Ben Simmons absolutely torch them, and converted on just four of their 18 three-point attempts. Most of the C’s shots seemed to come up just short or take an unfortunate bounce, too, while Redick could have probably hit a shot from the restricted area on the other side of the court and made it. That alone should have told you that the averages were going to come into play and that the C’s would make their push.
That and, y’know, the borderline unbeatable resolve of this team.
Determined to claw their way out of their plus-20 deficit, the Celtics turned on for a 13:20 stretch to close out the second quarter and begin the third that left Philly stunned.
During that stretch, the Celtics hit on 19 of their 33 field goals, out-rebounded the opposition 17-to-9, and created 14 points off Sixer turnovers. It played out to a 44-16 run that favored the Green, and came with their wings providing a lift for Kyrie Irving.
Jaylen Brown paced all Celtic scorers with 21 points and a game-high plus-34, Jayson Tatum made seven of his 13 attempts for a 16-point night, and the veteran Marcus Morris finished with 19 points and collected eight rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench.
“We started to play better defensively, get stops, and that momentum carried into the third [quarter],” Al Horford said of their comeback. “I feel like we did a better job of executing, and defensively, we really tightened up.”
Their most impressive defensive effort undoubtedly came against Embiid, who was held to his fourth-worst shooting night of the year, at 6-for-17.
How’s that for a process?
JBL Audio Stat of the Game: Tonight’s win marks the 200th career victory for Celtics coach Brad Stevens, making him the 7th head coach in franchise history to reach the 200-win mark.
JBL is the official audio of Jayson Tatum, the Boston Celtics, and the NBA.
Full article @ Celtics 114, Sixers 103: Celtics erase 22-point deficit with scorching run in London
Source: GreenStreet Blog