Shorthanded C’s bury sixers with 3s
Celtics vs. 76ers Takeaway: Shorthanded C’s Bury Sixers With 3s originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
The undermanned Boston Celtics pulled off a brave win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
Robert Williams (left ankle sprain) and Al Horford (right knee swelling) were both ruled out for the marquee matchup at TD Garden. Additionally, Marcus Smart (sprained right ankle) missed his eighth straight game and Jaylen Brown (contusion on the face) was eliminated early after a scary clash with teammate Jayson Tatum.
Boston made up for these absences by shooting light from beyond the arc. It shot 19-to-35 (54.3 percent) from 3-point range while Philadelphia only scored 10-to-31 (32.3 percent). That was the difference as the Celtics clinched a 106-99 win despite missing four of their starters.
Tatum’s 12 points marked his lowest total of the season, but he dished out nine assists and the Celtics’ depth made up for his off night. Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon led all C-scorers with 19 points. Blake Griffin and Grant Williams each added 15 points.
Sixers star Joel Embiid had a game-high 28 points in the loss. James Harden contributed 26 points while the rest of Philadelphia’s offense struggled.
The Celtics will hope to be healthier as they seek their third straight win over the Charlotte Hornets on Friday night. First, here are our takeaways from their impressive win over the 76ers that puts them 39-16 on the season.
Blake Griffin sparks the threesome party in Boston
With Robert Williams and Al Horford out, Blake Griffin got the starting nod. The experienced big man made an immediate impact and was the catalyst for the Celtics’ 3-point barrage.
Griffin drilled three straight 3s in the first four minutes of the game to declare nine of Boston’s first 11 points.
That was the theme of the Celtics’ victory.
Overall, the Celtics shot 6:10 from long range in the first quarter and were able to stay hot all night. Griffin hit five of his eight 3-point attempts to finish with a season-high 15 points. He, Brogdon, White, Grant Williams and Sam Hauser combined in a 18-on-26 shot from beyond the arc to lead Boston to victory. White delivered the biggest shot of the game to take the Cs to six with less than two minutes left.
The Celtics bench is up to the occasion
With Brown out and Tatum struggling, it was up to the Celtics’ supporting performers to keep the game within reach. They went above and beyond with a spectacular all-around performance.
The second unit stepped forward to best the Bank of 76s 41-21. Brogdon led the charge with 19 points in 7-of-13 shooting. The sixth Man of the Year nominee has scored at least 10 points in each of his last 16 games.
Hauser went into the game against Detroit on Monday and has shot just 38.9 percent from 3-point range this season. Suddenly he’s 9-to-13 of 3 in his last two games after stringing together another excellent performance on Wednesday.
Luke Kornet also came off the bench to minimize the absences of Robert Williams and Al Horford. The 7-foot-2 center had eight points, four rebounds and three blocks. His performance comes at an interesting time as the Celtics are reportedly eyeing a center position upgrade ahead of Thursday’s NBA close.
An impressive team win
Without question, it was one of the Celtics’ most impressive wins of the 2022-23 NBA season.
It was a total team effort, even before Brown left the game late in the second quarter, leaving Boston without four of their starters. Brown and Tatum only had four points combined in the first quarter, but the Celtics still went into the second quarter with a three-point lead thanks to their depth.
Finding a path to victory despite Brown’s injury (four points in 18 minutes) and Tatum’s lowest goal scoring of the season speaks volumes for this team’s resilience. Five players not named Brown or Tatum posted double-digit scores. Meanwhile, Embiid, Harden and De’Anthony Melton were the only sixers to be in double figures.
With the trade deadline approaching, this may not be the same group by the time of Friday’s game. If this was his last hurray, it was one hell of a way out.