BOSTON – Brad Stevens decided to sit most of his starters for Monday night’s game against Philadelphia, creating a sense of uncertainty as to how his relatively youthful squad of backups would handle themselves.
Quite nicely, thank you.
Boston’s backups had no problem establishing control over the Sixers in the game’s early minutes, and never relenting in delivering a 113-96 drubbing over the Sixers.
The Celtics (3-0) will look to close out their preseason slate of games undefeated when they travel to face Charlotte on Wednesday.
For Boston, the win itself doesn’t mean a lot in the grand scheme of things.
The Celtics are one of the better teams in the NBA while the Sixers are improving, they are a team that’s working their way towards being a more competitive team.
But on Monday, they were far from competitive.
They were crushed, in every sense of the word by a Celtics team that put on an impressive display of dominance that you should expect when they face teams like Philadelphia that they should be able to dispose of with little trouble.
Leading the way for Boston early on was their starting backcourt of Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier, who completely overwhelmed their Philadelphia counterparts, Nik Stauskas and former Celtic Jerryd Bayless.
Boston led 59-39 at the half, with Rozier and Smart combining for 27 points on 10-for-15 shooting while Philly’s Bayless-Stauskas tandem had 1 point between them and were a combined 0-for-9 from the field shooting. Smart had 12 points while Rozier had a double-double of 15 points, 10 rebounds and six assists.
The second half was more of the same, with seemingly everybody to step on the floor for the Celtics contributing either scoring the ball or solid play defensively.
Boston’s dominance also put on display the team’s depth at seemingly every position.
The one downside to Monday was the left knee injury suffered by Aron Baynes in the first half. He played just eight minutes in the first half and finished with two points and three rebounds.
Boston opened the game with a 17-5 run capped off by a 3-pointer from Marcus Smart – a phrase I’m finding myself writing a lot more than I expected, frankly.
Prior to the game, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens decided to rest the team’s Big Three – Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Al Horford – along with Marcus Morris.
That meant the players who would see most of the action for the Celtics, were players who would be spending most of this season coming off the bench.
Boston opened the game with Smart and Rozier in the backcourt, with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Baynes in the frontcourt.
Despite most of those players being on the second unit, it didn’t stop them from delivering a first-rate performance that the Sixers were never able to compete against.