Celtics Stave Off Sixers

By Sean Kennedy (@PhillyFastBreak)

The Sixers couldn’t do enough to overcome the Celtics braintrust of Coach Brad Stevens and Rajon Rondo.

Boston 101, Philadelphia 90 – Box Score

Wednesday night’s game was circled on the calendar as a spot where the Sixers might be able to steal a win: finally returning home after the Texas Triangle trip, a Celtics team in a rebuild itself and dealing with its own losing streak, Carter-Williams and Noel both returning to the starting lineup. Unfortunately, a good spot is one thing, but you have to be able to take advantage with the play on the court. The Sixers were not able to do that Wednesday, dropping to 0-11 on the season.

Philadelphia looked good early on, jumping out to a lead through one quarter, but could not contain the big man combination of Jared Sullinger and Brandon Bass on the evening. Sullinger consistently beat the Sixers bigs down the floor for easy points in transition, while Bass did his usual death-by-a-thousand-paper-cuts act with his highly effective mid-range jumper. The Sixers, as is their way, struggled with their shot throughout the game, shooting just below 40% from the field. Scoring droughts in both the second and final quarters allowed the Celtics to both get back in the game, and put the nail in the coffin.

One positive takeaway from the game was Nerlens Noel playing his best game of the month. Noel finished with 10 points and 8 rebounds, and had what was easily his his best offensive move as a professional. In the 1:55 mark of the below video, you can see Noel facing up against Kelly Olynyk and taking him off the dribble to finish with a left-handed scoop shot.

Tony Wroten was also the offensive catalyst for the team, finishing with 21 points and 7 assists, albeit on an inefficient 7-19 mark from the floor. Wroten also added yet another buzzer beater to his ever-expanding portfolio, knocking down a long bomb to end the third quarter. Unfortunately, he was 0-5 on shots just beyond the conventional the three-point line, alongside his 1-1 on shots from 35 feet. It’s uncanny how such a subpar shooter can have such a knack for hitting shots from around half court.

Other Game Notes:

  • What’s the deal with K.J. McDaniels’ playing time? The rookie was only given 11 minutes of game action last night, despite playing very well. McDaniels hit all three of his shots (including both three-point attempts), had yet another block, and was the only Sixer with a positive +/- at +4. One of the few benefits of not worrying about winning during the current season is the team can give young guys with potential, like McDaniels, as much time out there as possible to earn experience and develop. So why was he tied with Drew Gordon for the fewest minutes played on the team for the night? Could the organization be trying to keep his numbers down in an attempt to limit what his offer sheet from other teams would be this offseason? If that’s at all the case, then they would be doing a great disservice to both the players and the fans. McDaniels should be playing at least 25-30 minutes per night based on the dazzling potential he’s shown thus far.
  • I think it’s awesome that Papa John’s went from “50% off any time the #sixers win” to “50% off any time the #sixers score 90″.

The Sixers have been so bad this season that a sponsor had to change its entire platform for how it would draw in potential customers. Last season, McDonald’s gave free Big Macs when the team scored 100 points, but the Sixers can’t even be trusted to reach that threshold anymore. People always focus on the financial drawbacks of tanking in terms of attendance, but it has to be a bane to the marketing department as well.

The team will be back in action Friday night at home against the Suns. Not a great chance for a win there, but at least 50% off Papa John’s is now a very real possibility.

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