The 76ers lost in overtime, 121-114, to the Celtics in Boston on Tuesday.
Here are some takeaways and best and worst awards:
- The Sixers still have work to do. This was clear long before, but the Sixers' biggest weaknesses were apparent on Tuesday. The Sixers made a game of it and pushed things into overtime, but it was on a night where the Celtics saw little impact from Gordon Hayward and were without Aron Baynes. The Sixers are going to have to make some more adjustments and put in more work if they want to play deep into the postseason.
- Wilson Chandler had a season-high 15 points and played a pretty well-rounded game on Tuesday. I don’t really want to take anything away from that, but you have to look at the inconsistency of not only Chandler, but also the bench. There’s no way around it: the Sixers need more consistent production from their role players.
- Ben Simmons has to find a way to combat the good teams that play effective defense and slow him down. There really is one thing that could immediately open up his game and it’s the threat of a jump shot. He makes them in practice, says he’s confident, and flashes his ability sporadically, but he’s a liability in late game situations when defenses can crowd the paint while he is a non-threat outside.
- The stars need to take better care of the ball. The Sixers ended up with 19 turnovers compared to the Celtics' nine. Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid accounted for 14 of the 19. When players have the ball in their hands most of the time, it’s understandable they’ll average more miscues than others, but the kind of turnovers -- plus sloppy execution -- does not bode well for the Sixers' core.
Best and worst
Best performance: Kyrie Irving. He absolutely stole the show, finishing with 40 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and a steal.
Worst performance: The Sixers bench was outscored 25-13. This thin group has yet to find a groove and they aren’t putting together enough good nights for anyone to trust they have what it takes.
Best defensive performance: Jimmy Butler was the individual defender of the night but the Celtics' approach to Ben Simmons is the real winner. The Celtics are not worried about Ben Simmons and their defense shows it. They sag off him when he’s outside, crowd him when he’s in transition, and do their best to keep a strong athletic body available to stop him at any time.
Worst statistic: The Sixers bench didn’t score a single point for more than 30 minutes. That’s not an okay way to start a game.
Best statistic: Not only did Kyrie Irving score 40 points, he did it on 17 of 33 from the field for 51.5 percent shooting overall, and shot 50 percent from three-point range.
Worst of the worst: The Sixers bench struggled to produce and Mike Muscala struggled the most, going 1 of 9 on Tuesday including 1 of 8 from three.