Celtics Lose 107-93
The Boston Celtics lost their 2019-2020 NBA season at the Philadelphia 76ers Wednesday night 107-93. The considerably smaller Celtics shot poorly from the field (36.7%), especially from three-point range (26.9%), and even worse from the free throw line (58.8%), relatively speaking. The Celtics were also in foul trouble all night. The Boston committed 29 fouls, six fewer than the 76ers, but the Celtics couldn’t capitalize on Philadelphia’s mistakes. The Celtics were so bad at the line 76ers fans capitalized on two Taco Bell promotions built on opponent's awful free throw shooting. Jaylen Brown, who signed a $115 million extension Monday, was overwhelmed by Philadelphia’s size despite being one of Celtics taller players. He was on the bench with four fouls in the first half after only nine minutes of play.
The 76ers didn’t shoot much better, or play any cleaner, but ultimately Philadelphia’s size was too much for these Celtics to handle. This is despite their biggest and best player being shut down. Joel Embiid was held to only 15 points on 35.7% shooting; Embiid also committed five fouls. Unfortunately for the Celtics, Embiid wasn’t the only big man they had to content with. Ben Simmons nearly posted a triple-double, with 24 points, eight rebounds and nine assists. Former Celtic Al Horford added 16 points, but not much else; 6’8” Tobias Harris scored 15 points on 53% shooting while securing a game-high 15 rebounds.
The Bad, Worse & the Ugly
The Boston Celtics played poorly as a team, but also individually. Jayson Tatum scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, but shot 36% from the field, including 1-3 at the free throw line. All-NBA free agent acquisition point guard Kemba Walker was abysmal, going 4-18 from the field with only two assists. Enes Kanter was his usual efficient self from the floor, but only scored 12 points and had a +/- of -12. Go figure. Marcus Smart led all Celtics with eight assists, but only scored four points on 29% shooting. We’ve already chronicled Brown’s woes. The one bright spot for the Celtics was Gordon Hayward, largely an Achilles Heal for Boston last season, who scored 25 points on 53% shooting. The rest of the Celtics combined for 11 points in 51 minutes.
Opening night was ugly for both the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers, but the Celtics came away with a loss. If the Celtics are going to play small ball with the likes of giants like the 76ers, they’re going to have to shoot much better, foul less and hit free their throws. The Celtics have to play better on every level in every phase of the game, although they won’t be facing the Eastern Conference favorites every night.
Featured Image via The Philadelphia Inquirer