KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Here is my look at some of the best and worst performances from the 76ers’ 128-101 Game 2 loss to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday at The Field House inside ESPN Wide World of Sports.
Best performance: Jayson Tatum gets this for the second straight game. The third-year forward torched the Sixers for 33 points, making 8 of 12 three-pointers. Eighteen of his points, helped by 5-for-6 three-point shooting, came in the first half. This was two days after the All-Star had game highs of 32 points and three blocks to go with 13 rebounds.
Worst performance: This was a tough one, because Tobias Harris had a horrid shooting night, missing 11 of his 15 shots. But the forward did finish with 13 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. So I had to give this award to Alec Burks. The reserve had arguably one of his worst games since being acquired by the Sixers in February from the Golden State Warriors. He missed seven of eight shots en route to scoring 2 points, tying his lowest total as a Sixer. But one can argue that the Sixers’ questionable rotation contributed to his struggles.
Best defensive performance: You have to give this to Brad Wanamaker, the pride of Roman Catholic High School. The Celtics reserve point guard finished with a game-high three blocks against his hometown team and graded out at a team-second-best plus-28.
Worst statistic: I had to give this to the Sixers’ shooting 4-for-18 (22.2 %) in the third quarter. That included missing all five of their three-pointers.
Best statistic: This goes to the Celtics’ making 61.9% of their shots (13 of 21) in the second quarter.
Worst of the worst: I had to give this to the Sixers coaching. The rotation was questionable, and coach Brett Brown didn’t make any adjustment. Brown elected to make Raul Neto the second player off the bench instead of Burks with 5:37 left in the first quarter and the Sixers up by 21-10. Neto was a minus-14 in his first nine minutes when the Sixers blew their double-digit lead. He finished at a minus-17 for the game.
The Sixers’ lack of defensive adjustments might have been the most glaring thing of the game. The Celtics kept scoring as if it was a practice. As Joel Embiid sat in the paint, Boston had the man he guarded set a screen. That enabled Tatum and Kemba Walker to punish the Sixers with wide-open, pull-up jumpers.