When your team has lost four straight games and is free-falling down the standings of the Eastern Conference, there is nothing better than looking up and seeing a team that sits at 9-60 on the year. That was the situation the Celtics faced last night as they traveled to Philadelphia to face a historically bad Sixers team, a team that has been terrible for five seasons now. The Celtics didn't play well for the first three quarters but still held a comfortable lead, and then the fourth happened.
We got to see the Celtics of two weeks ago.
Boston jumped out in the first quarter, establishing a 12-point lead over the first 12 minutes of the game. Ish Smith and the Sixers weren't going to back down easy though, and they battled back in the second quarter, winning the quarter 28-27 and remaining in the game with a team that should have been blowing them out. Philadelphia won a defenseless third quarter too, 35-33, but they still weren't able to make a large dent in the lead Boston established after one quarter. Boston won the fourth, 32-26, taking control of the game on three straight three-pointers from Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Marcus Smart. The Celtics had struggled all game to find their range and they found out just when they truly needed it- the fourth quarter.
Boston outrebounded a bigger Sixers team 53-40, and only committed 13 turnovers to Philadelphia's 11. Boston won the possession battle which typically wins the game, and that scenario played out on Sunday night. Six Celtics finished in double figures with Isaiah Thomas leading the way with 26 points while also chipping in eight assists. Jared Sullinger also had a strong game for the "Green Team", picking up 17 points and 13 rebounds.
The Sixers are beginning to look like they'll match the 72-73 Sixers, who finished 9-73 and are the worst team, record wise, in the history of the NBA. Eight of their final 12 games are against teams over .500, and the only team left on the schedule that they beat is Portland, a talented team that will be looking for revenge next time around. The best chance for a Philly win is either over the Knicks or the Pelicans, who recently shut down Anthony Davis for the remainder of the season to a long-lingering shoulder injury. Philadelphia has made this losing bed, so they get to sleep in it. To be perfectly honest, I find their methods disgusting and they are everything that is wrong with the NBA. What's the point of having a lottery if teams are just going to keep tanking anyways?
OK, now that my rant is over, let's take a look at the positive- Boston won the game and their brutal four-game losing streak is a thing of the past. Tomorrow night the Celtics (40-30) welcome the Orlando Magic to the Garden for the second night of a back to back; something tells me the Celtics will bring the same energy as they did tonight, regardless of the back-to-back outings. The Sixers (9-61) travel to Indiana for their next loss to the suddenly-hot Pacers.
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