A shorthanded loss: 10 Takeaways from Celtics-76ers (2023)

1. The Boston Celtics lost by two on the road at the Philadelphia 76ers in a game where they could have sewn up the 2-seed in the Eastern Conference and kept a little pressure on the Milwaukee Bucks for the 1-seed.

Oh well.

That might seem an odd attitude to have, but this hardly feels like one of those crushing defeats. And it’s certainly not one of those “What the heck happened?” losses to a bad team either.

Boston played without Jaylen Brown and Rob Williams and it took an absolutely monster effort from Joel Embiid for Philadelphia to win. If anything, that’s encouraging.

Sure, you’d rather have the win. No one is suggesting otherwise. But this isn’t a loss where we’re left wondering who these Celtics are. It was just a shorthanded loss in a great game against the likely NBA MVP.

2. Let’s recognize how dominant Joel Embiid was. He scored 52 points on 20-of-25 shooting from the floor and 12-of-13 at the free throw line. And, which isn’t always the case against Boston, he wasn’t really gifted any of his free throws.

For a change, Embiid wasn’t just an early-quarters monster either. He scored 14 points in the fourth quarter and carried the Sixers home down the stretch. He hit shots against great defense several times too. And double-teams didn’t fluster him all that much either.

If there’s a positive to be had for the Celtics, this probably won’t be how they defend Embiid in a potential playoff matchup.

Al Horford logged relatively few possessions guarding Embiid straight up. Historically, he’s defended Embiid better than almost anyone else. Rob Williams wasn’t there to help on the inside shots. And Boston did send doubles at Embiid, but those doubles often came late, almost as a second challengers on his shot. Don’t expect to see those things happen or not happen in a playoff game.

The single best individual defense of the night on Embiid came from Blake Griffin. He used his feet to stay in front of Embiid, and then came up with a strip as Embiid went up into his jumper:

(Video) Celtics stave off elimination vs. Embiid, Sixers: Tatum scores 16 Pts in 4th Qtr | NBA | UNDISPUTED

At the end of the day, it feels like the Celtics strategy against Embiid remains to throw different looks at him and varying their coverages. And there’s a heavy dose of letting Embiid get his, while locking in on everyone else too. This particular game felt like a “Let’s not show all of our cards” defensive performance from Boston.

3. Let’s also briefly touch on the madness of the end of the game.

What a mess that was.

But, in an encouraging way, it shows you can’t really count the Celtics out. And if you think there’s any player in the league better than Marcus Smart in the spot to intentionally miss a free throw, we can respectfully disagree.

4. Postgame, Doc Rivers said Joel Embiid wrapped up MVP with his dominant night. No one said Malcolm Brogdon wrapped up Sixth Man of the Year, but he may have.

With all due respect to Immanuel Quickley, Brogdon has him beat in almost every statistical category, and he’s a far more efficient player. Oh, and Brogdon has come off the bench for every game he’s played. Quickley’s best games have come in games that he started.

This game was another showcase of Brogdon’s importance to Boston. There was a stretch where Brogdon was basically unguardable when he got into the game.

He does a great job of creating space to get to his shot, as he does here in hitting the short fallaway over Embiid:

Even though his jumper form looks like someone with a torn rotator cuff shooting a medicine ball, Brogdon is wildly effective from deep:

(Video) The Hoop Collective reacts to the Celtics forcing Game 7 vs. the 76ers 👀

In last season’s playoffs, especially in the deeper rounds, Boston needed one more guy who could do something off-the-dribble. Or to create something out of nothing. Brogdon is that guy:

5. On a team with the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, it’s remarkable that Derrick White has been the Celtics best defensive guard, and probably the best overall defensive player for Boston. Hopefully that comes with All-Defense recognition, because White deserves it.

Part of what makes White special is that he never quits on a play. This is just hustle and desire to get a stop:

There’s also not a better rim-protecting guard in the league:

Let’s just all agree that he’s All-D-White from here on out.

6. One thing that is still a pretty open-ended question, and maybe it’s by design, is: What is the backup big rotation?

Al Horford is going to start. It seems like the team has found a rhythm with Derrick White staying in the starting lineup and Rob Williams coming off the bench. The guess is that will stick, unless it’s a changeup in something like Game 4 of a series.

It could be as simple as last season’s Horford-Rob Williams-Grant Williams trio splitting the big minutes. So, maybe it’s not really all that big of a question anyway.

(Video) Jayson Tatum GOES OFF In The 4TH QTR Of Game 6! | May 11, 2023

But if Joe Mazzulla needs to go a fourth big, who will it be? It’s probably Blake Griffin, given how solid he’s been for Boston, but it might be matchup dependent. Mazzulla seems to have trust in Luke Kornet when he needs some size on the floor, and Mike Muscala offers more shooting ability.

In the end, this is probably a wait-and-see thing. And maybe the real hope is that we never actually need to find out.

7. There were two moments of fourth-quarter playoff defense from the Celtics. The first involved Grant Williams picking up James Harden on a switch. First, Williams did a nice job staying in front of Harden. As Harden goes into his step-back, watch how Williams contests the shot, by going wide and staying on Harden’s shooting hand. That allows him to avoid anything that looks like a foul:

The other one came a couple of minutes later. This whole possession was Boston smothering Philadelphia. It ended with Tobias Harris and Harden locked up in the corner:

Put that block on All-D-White’s highlight reel too.

8. It wasn’t a great shooting night for Jayson Tatum, but it was another night of him showing growth dealing with extra defensive attention. Against both the Bucks and the Jazz, Tatum did a good job of reading the defense to set up his teammates. He repeated that against the Sixers.

P.J. Tucker is cheating off Al Horford here, because he wants to give help if Tatum drives Joel Embiid. Tatum sees it and hits Horford:

De’Anthony Melton drifts one step too far from Derrick White and Tatum’s on it:

(Video) Inside the NBA reacts to 76ers vs Celtics Game 2 Highlights | 2023 NBA Playoffs

Sometimes drawing that extra defender is a little more direct, like this drive-and-kick pass from Tatum to Horford in the corner:

9. In some ways, this game was played like a playoff game. The defense was pretty good and the pace was relatively slow. In a low-possession game, which most playoff games are, you need to execute and steal some points in unexpected ways.

One way to do that is off inbounds sets. Boston scored twice off BLOB sets in this one. The first time was Derrick White hitting a three when Grant Williams screened off his man to get him open directly on the inbounds pass. (There’s no clip because TNT was showing us a closeup of Doc Rivers instead of the game. Sigh.)

The second was Jayson Tatum cutting directly off of an Al Horford screen to shoot off the catch on an inbounds pass from Marcus Smart:

These are small, simple things, but they are important in the grand scheme of winning playoff games. It’s good to see the Celtics executing the simple stuff at a high level.

10. The Celtics get right back at it on Wednesday night, as they travel back home to Boston to face the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors are coming off crushing the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday night, so neither team has any sort of rest advantage.

It’s the first of a two-game mini-series too. We’ll see if Joe Mazzulla chooses to rest anyone on Wednesday, beyond Al Horford, who is highly unlikely to play. But this is a nice simulation of the playoffs, by seeing the same team twice in three days.

Boston only needs to win one game (or have Philadelphia lose one game) to wrap up the 2-seed. That’ll come, whether it’s Wednesday, or later in the week. From there, it’s all about rust vs rhythm, as the Celtics get ready for the playoffs.

(Video) Celtics host 76ers in pivotal Game 5: Do you trust Harden or Tatum more? | NBA | FIRST THINGS FIRST

FAQs

Who is favored to win Celtics or 76ers? ›

The Celtics are favored.

How many times have the 76ers beat the Celtics? ›

76ers–Celtics rivalry
Statistics
Meetings total579
All-time series333–246 (BOS)
Regular season series267–196 (BOS)
Postseason results66–50 (BOS)
8 more rows

Who would the Sixers play in Round 2? ›

The Sixers' quest for an NBA title continues with a second round matchup against the Boston Celtics. After splitting the first four games of the series, the Sixers scored a HUGE road win in game five on Tuesday night and now lead the series 3-2. They could close things out on their home court in game six.

Do Celtics have tie breaker over 76ers? ›

76ers' upcoming schedule

The Celtics do own the season tiebreaker over Philly, however (3-0), and get the Sixers one more time on April 4. The C's completing the season sweep would go a long way toward them staying ahead of Philly in the standings.

Who is the favorite team to win the NBA? ›

Boston's back on top again. After defeating Mr. MVP Joel Embiid and the 76ers 95-86 in Game 6, the Celtics are the new kids on top of the block to win the NBA Finals at +150. Behind the C's are Nikola Jokić and the Denver Nuggets at +225.

What are the odds for the Boston Celtics to win the NBA championship? ›

2023 NBA Championship Odds
TeamOdds
Boston Celtics+105
Denver Nuggets+230
Los Angeles Lakers+330
Miami Heat+1400
1 day ago

What was the 76ers worst losing streak? ›

Streaks started at the end of one season are carried over into the following season. The Philadelphia 76ers lost 28 straight games spanning two seasons: 2014–15 and 2015–16, the most consecutive losses in NBA history.

What was the Sixers worst record? ›

The 76ers finished just one game shy of tying the NBA record for most losses in a season, set by the Sixers themselves during their 1972–73 season when they went 9–73.
...
2015–16 Philadelphia 76ers season
OwnersJosh Harris
ArenaWells Fargo Center
Results
Record10–72 (.122)
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Who is the greatest 76ers players of all time? ›

Philadelphia 76ers: 50 All Time Greatest Players
  • Charles Barkley (1984-1992, WS: 113.8)
  • Hal Greer (1958-1973, WS: 109.9) ...
  • Maurice Cheeks (1978-1989, WS: 100.2) ...
  • Allen Iverson (1996-2006, 2009-2010, WS: 85.7) ...
  • Wilt Chamberlain (1965-1968, WS: 81.1) ...
  • Billy Cunningham (1965-1972, 1974-1976, WS: 65.3) ...
May 3, 2023

Who is the Sixers best Big 3? ›

Tyrese Maxey – 85 (Last year: 76)

Between Maxey, Embiid and Harden, the Sixers have the highest-rated “Big 3” on any roster in the game.

What is the Sixers most 3 pointers in a game as a team? ›

The Philadelphia 76ers buried their most threes in a game versus the Pacers on April 5, 2022, with 23 three-pointers.

Who wore 22 for the Sixers? ›

Kevin Loughery, 1971-1973.

Why is there a 6 on the Celtics jersey? ›

Yes, every player in the league has the No. 6 patch on their uniform to honor Russell, including every team having his number displayed above the NBA mid-court logo in a black-white-gold colorway.

Is Sixers 13 retired? ›

One of the greatest honours a basketball player in the NBA can receive is to have the number on their jersey retired by their team.
...
Complete list of retired player numbers in the NBA.
TeamPlayer nameNumber
Philadelphia 76ersWilt Chamberlain13
Philadelphia 76ersHal Greer15
155 more rows
Mar 8, 2023

Did the Celtics win 6 championships in a row? ›

Jones, Sam Jones, Satch Sanders, and Bill Sharman, would usher the Celtics into the greatest period in franchise history, winning eight consecutive NBA championships from 1959 to 1966.

Who is the #1 NBA team all time? ›

If there is a team that deserves the top spot in the NBA's greatest teams of all time, it would be the '95-96 Chicago Bulls. What is this? This team dominated the season and emerged as overall league champions. The team was famously led by Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman.

What are the 3 best NBA teams? ›

2022 NBA Power Rankings: Utah Jazz take top spot after hot streak
  1. 01 Utah Jazz. USA Today Sports Images.
  2. 02 Golden State Warriors. USA Today Sports Images. ...
  3. 03 Phoenix Suns. USA Today Sports Images. ...
  4. 04 Chicago Bulls. USA Today Sports Images. ...
  5. 05 Milwaukee Bucks. ...
  6. 06 Miami Heat. ...
  7. 07 Brooklyn Nets. ...
  8. 08 Cleveland Cavaliers. ...

What was the best NBA team ever? ›

Top 5 NBA teams of all-time
  • #5 1988-89 Detroit Pistons.
  • #4 1986-87 Los Angeles Lakers.
  • #2 2016-17 Golden State Warriors.
  • #1 1995-96 Chicago Bulls.
Jan 29, 2023

Who is predicted to win the NBA Finals 2023? ›

Boston's still on top. After defeating Mr. MVP Joel Embiid and the 76ers 112-88 in Game 7, the Celtics are still the favorites to win the NBA Finals (+100 at FOX Bet).

Who is favored to win the early 2023 NBA championship? ›

2023 NBA Championship Odds
TeamOdds
Milwaukee Bucks+575
Golden State Warriors+800
Philadelphia 76ers+900
Denver Nuggets+900
9 more rows
Apr 26, 2023

Are the Boston Celtics the most successful team in NBA history? ›

Boston Celtics, American professional basketball team based in Boston, Massachusetts. One of the most successful franchises in sports history, the Celtics won 11 of 13 National Basketball Association (NBA) championships from 1957 to 1969. Overall, they have won 17 NBA titles.

What NBA team has 0 losses? ›

How many NBA teams have gone undefeated in the regular season? There has never been a NBA team with an undefeated regular season. The closest anybody has come is the 2015-16 Golden State Warriors, who had 9 losses.

What NBA team went the longest without losing? ›

The Los Angeles Lakers own the longest winning streak in NBA history. They won 33 straight games in the 1971–72 season, compiling a season-best 69–13 record and went on to win the NBA Finals.

Who has the longest losing streak? ›

The Chicago Cardinals have the longest regular season losing streak, losing 29 consecutive games from 1942 through 1945. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the longest losing streak since the 1970 AFL–NFL merger, losing the first 26 games in franchise history in 1976 and 1977.

Who is the biggest Sixers fan? ›

76ers Fandom. Horwitz is one of the most recognized NBA superfans and has been nicknamed the "Sixth Man" of the Philadelphia 76ers and the "Sixers Jack Nicholson".

What was the worst NBA season in history? ›

What is the record for most losses in an NBA season? The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers hold the record for most losses in an NBA season with 73.

What NBA team has the most losses? ›

The Celtics have also recorded the most wins, with 3,570; the Sacramento Kings have recorded the most losses with 3,221. The Pelicans have also recorded both the fewest wins (782) and losses (904).

Who has the most 50 point games in 76ers history? ›

Wilt Chamberlain had the most games for the 76ers with 50+ points, with 11 games.

Who is the winningest coach in Sixers history? ›

Billy Cunningham, who played and coached with the 76ers for 17 years, is the franchise's all-time leader in both regular season and playoff games coached and wins.

Who was the best 6th man in the NBA? ›

Bobby Jones was the inaugural winner of the award for the 1982–83 NBA season. The 2022–23 recipient was Malcolm Brogdon of the Boston Celtics. Jamal Crawford and Lou Williams are the only three time winners of the award. Kevin McHale, Ricky Pierce and Detlef Schrempf won the award twice.

Who is the best big man in basketball ever? ›

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

If anything, the longevity argument is still with Abdul-Jabbar, as the all-time big man won his two Finals MVP awards 14 years apart, first in 1971 and then again in 1985. Most players' careers don't last anywhere near that long, yet Abdul-Jabbar was dominating at the highest level for that long.

Who is the best big man in basketball? ›

NBA top 15 big men rankings for 2021-22: Giannis Antetokounmpo seizes No. 1 ahead of Nikola Jokic, Joel Embiid - CBSSports.com.

Who has the most scoring games for the Sixers? ›

Wilt Chamberlain has the most points for the 76ers in a game, with 68 points against the Bulls on December 16, 1967.

Who has the most 9 three-pointers in a game? ›

Sprewell knocked down all nine of his 3-point attempts in 2003 against the Los Angeles Clippers. He ended the day with 38 points in a 105-92 win.

Who holds the most threes in a game? ›

Most 3-Pointers in a Game: Klay Thompson, 14 (Oct. 29, 2018)

What team has the most 3-pointers ever in a game? ›

Most 3-Pointers in a Game by a Team: Milwaukee Bucks, 29 (Dec. 29, 2020) It was the first full week of the season and the Miami Heat were coming off an NBA Finals appearance in which the team stomped the Milwaukee Bucks 4-1 in the second round.

Who wears 0 on the 76ers? ›

Tyrese Kendrid Maxey (born November 4, 2000), nicknamed "Mad Maxey", is an American professional basketball player for the Philadelphia 76ers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He previously played college basketball for the Kentucky Wildcats.

Who is 0 on the 6ers? ›

Tyrese Maxey

Has anyone worn 76 on the 76ers? ›

Given the novelty of a 7-foot-6 center playing for the 76ers, Bradley was issued jersey number 76.

How rich was Bill Russell? ›

What is Bill Russell's estimated net worth? According to Celebrity Net Worth, Russell had an estimated net worth of about $10 million by 2022, when the basketball star passed away.

Why is Celtics 24? ›

24 band on their jerseys throughout the regular season and in the 2022 playoffs. It's one way the franchise is honoring Hall of Fame guard Sam Jones, who died in December at age 88. Jones, who wore No. 24 in Boston, won 10 championships with the Celtics from 1957-58 through 1968-69.

Who was Celtics No 9? ›

Derrick White (basketball)
No. 9 – Boston Celtics
PositionShooting guard / Point guard
LeagueNBA
Personal information
BornJuly 2, 1994 Parker, Colorado, U.S.
20 more rows

What are the chances of the Sixers winning championship? ›

Sixers' title odds, MVP favorites and more after NBA Finals

But before that all gets underway, we already are fast forwarding to the spring and summer of 2022. NBC Sports betting partner PointsBet has listed the Sixers with odds of +1200 ($10 bet to win $120) to win next season's title.

Who are the Celtics best basketball rivalry? ›

The Boston Celtics' biggest rivals are the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Miami Heat. The Boston Celtics are one of the NBA's most storied franchises. They are tied for the most NBA Championships with 17, and the franchise is littered with Hall of Fame players from Bill Russell to Paul Pierce.

Are the Celtics a good basketball team? ›

The C's won 26 of their last 32 games and finished the season with the league's best defensive rating. Boston also took a step forward offensively in 2022, ranking ninth in offensive rating. The Celtics were a well-balanced team, finishing No.

Who is number 1 on Sixers jersey? ›

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Videos

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3. Sixers COLLAPSE In 4th Quarter & Lose Game 6 To Celtics... Game 7 Will Make Or Break This Franchise!
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5. Welp! A major choke job by the Sixers.
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