BOSTON — The 76ers ended Boston’s homecourt dominance with Thursday’s 115-109 win over the Celtics at TD Bank Garden. It was Boston’s first home loss of the season.
Here are some takeaways from the game.
This was by far Joel Embiid’s best game of the year.
The Celtics weakness is their interior defense and Embiid continually exploited it. Embiid is getting better at recognizing double team, although he still puts the ball on the floor for too long and that is where many of his turnovers come from. He did make a conscious effort to post-up more any time the Celtics didn’t double-team him, they were usually burned by Embiid.
He also was an effective passer, taking advantage of being double-teamed and hitting cutting teammates for layups.
For good measure he hit a three that extended the Sixers lead to 100-92 with 4:04 left and scored many other key points down the stretch. This performance may have to have his critics reassess their comments about him.
Once again Tobias Harris showed great versatility in his offensive game. In the fourth quarter alone he scored three early baskets by hitting a driving hook shot, then was good on a 14-footer and that was followed by a layup, as he moved off the ball well and took a Kyle O’Quinn feed down low. His versatility has made him much more difficult to defend.
This was only the second start of the year for Sixers power forward Mike Scott and for the second time, he gave them an immediate lift. Starting in place of injured Al Horford, Scott hit all four of his first half shots, all from three-point range. In his other start he scored 21 points in a 141-94 rout of Cleveland.
As effective as rookie Matisse Thybulle has been as a defender, the one area he has difficulty with is against speed guards (who doesn’t?).
In the first half Celtics point guard Kemba Walker, continually got by Thybulle. One time he burst by him, pulled up for a three and was foul, completing a four-point play. When Thybulle gets beaten he usually tries to make the steal from behind, takign advatnage of his 7-foot wingspan. NBA players are getting a little wiser to this tactic.
It must be said that Thybulle had considerably better success in the second half defending Walker
After missing six games with right hamstring tightness, Josh Richardson looked rusty in his return during Tuesday’s 97-92 win over Denver. In that game he shot 1 for 8.
Against the Celtics Richardson looked much more in control and more confident. He doesn’t appear to be all the way back to the pre-injury Richardson, but he looked better in his second game back than he did in his first.
While the Celtics Gordon Hayward is among the more dangerous shooters in the NBA, an added dimension against the Sixers was creating off the dribble. He continually got by Sixers defenders to create shots for himself or teammates.
Even though Ben Simmons didn’t have the strongest offensive game, he didn’t allow it to affect him on defense. For most of the game he guarded Jayson Tatum, a potential all-star this season. Tatum had to work for everything and struggled shooting with Simmons all over him.