December 4, 2023


The Celtics are again in first place after a formidable win.

The Celtics took on the Sixers in Philadelphia on Wednesday. Picture by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Pictures

The Celtics beat the Sixers 117-107 Wednesday in a formidable victory with each Jaylen Brown and Kristaps Porzingis on the bench.

Listed below are the takeaways.

1. Different gamers had larger nights, however each time the Celtics beat the Sixers, it feels acceptable to start out with Al Horford who stays perhaps probably the most enraging a part of the Celtics-Sixers rivalry for Philadelphia followers. Sixers star Joel Embiid regarded grumpy and disengaged all through the sport, and towards Horford, that units him as much as fail since Horford is aware of his tips very effectively at this level and is much less more likely to be baited into fouling.

Limiting Embiid to twenty factors and 4 free throws wasn’t Horford’s solely contribution (though it was clearly a giant one). Horford was a menace across the rim, snuffing out possessions towards a number of Sixers attackers. He additionally had an infinite stretch within the third quarter, burying three straight triples towards a Sixers protection that collapsed with stunning straightforward and left quite a lot of Celtics shooters large open. That stretch by Horford pushed the Celtics again into the lead at a time when the sport may have swung both course.

Horford enjoys taking part in towards Sixers followers. At one level, he turned and grinned at followers within the entrance row after burying a 3-pointer.

“I simply like it man,” Horford instructed reporters afterward. “Once you hear that speaking, it simply provides you somewhat further. So I respect them.”

If the Celtics match up with the Sixers within the playoffs, one has to imagine that Horford will begin. After all, beginning Horford isn’t a simple resolution as a result of it means somebody must go to the bench, and one of the vital seemingly candidates is the subsequent participant we’re about to debate.

2. Derrick White was wonderful. On an evening when Brown and Porzingis had been out, the Celtics wanted somebody to step and supply somewhat little bit of every thing. Luckily for the Celtics, they’ve a few gamers outfitted to try this, and maybe none of them are higher at it than White, who completed with 27 factors, three rebounds and 5 assists.

White attacked the Sixers in quite a lot of other ways. He shot 4-for-8 from 3-point vary. He received to the free-throw line 10 occasions and made 9 of them. He knocked down a few floaters. He broke down the protection and jumpstarted ball motion. He discovered teammates in transition.

The Sixers don’t have nice guard defenders for White or Vacation, particularly when their higher defenders are occupied with Jayson Tatum. That, after all, is an issue they share with the remainder of the NBA.

3. In his postgame interview with ESPN, White properly summed up the cognitive dissonance of being a father on a piece journey (particularly the daddy of a new child).

“It’s going to be good to get some sleep on this highway [trip],” White stated. “However I miss them.”

4. In our continued documentation of Celtics assistant coach Matt Reynolds’ streak of profitable challenges, his work on the 1:08 mark of the fourth quarter was one in every of his greatest this 12 months. Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey appeared to attract three free throws flailing as Jrue Vacation glided by, however Vacation hit the ball and didn’t seem to the touch Maxey. To make issues higher for the Celtics, Derrick White grabbed the rebound off Maxey’s airball, so the Celtics prevented three free throws and received the ball again. Tatum tipped in his personal miss on the following possession, and the Celtics wrested full management of the sport away from the Sixers.

5. The Celtics weren’t solely with out Brown and Porzingis, Tatum had a comparatively lackluster recreation as a scorer. He led the staff in scoring with 29 factors, however he was 10-for-23 from the ground.

Nonetheless, Tatum completed with six assists. The Sixers despatched him a whole lot of consideration, and he dealt with it very well, particularly down the stretch.

6. The Celtics’ drive-and-kick recreation is a good way to neutralize the defensive impact of Embiid. By getting all the best way to the rim, they’ll both rating the layup or have interaction Embiid and kick the ball out to whoever is open. If that participant is Embiid’s defensive cost, it can seemingly be Horford or Porzingis, each of whom are shooters the Celtics really feel very snug with.

Earlier than the sport, Nick Nurse stated the Sixers wished to restrict the Celtics’ 3-pointers. The Celtics completed 18-for-50 behind the arc.

7. Tyrese Maxey completed with 20 factors on 6-for-15 taking pictures. If these groups meet within the playoffs, he will definitely have some huge video games, however he should work for his factors towards White and — particularly — Vacation.

8. The Celtics took a 15-point lead within the first quarter bolstered by their bench, who’ve been doing their job effectively for just a few weeks after a shaky begin. Luke Kornet struggled to defend in house however punished the Sixers with a few key put-backs late and dropped 9 factors to go together with six boards. Svi Mykhialiuk knocked down a 3-pointer and completed with 5 factors. Sam Hauser was within the beginning lineup, however he hit a pair of threes and held his personal.

The Sixers’ bench, in the meantime, was even higher within the second quarter — main the cost as they erased the deficit and took a one-point lead into halftime. Jaden Springer specifically appears to be like like a pleasant prospect on each ends. And not using a higher recreation from their stars, nonetheless, the Sixers’ bench was merely a pleasant facet be aware.

9. Embiid has all the time been fairly candid concerning the rivalry towards the Celtics. That continued on Wednesday.

The Sixers are staff, however regardless that the Celtics are 1-1 towards them, we’ve seen little or no to counsel the dynamic of the rivalry has modified this season to date.

10. The Celtics will now journey to Toronto to tackle the Raptors of their second recreation of the in-season match on Friday. They wrap up their highway journey with a back-to-back towards the Grizzlies and Hornets on Sunday and Monday.