Celtics 102, Sixers 92: Studs, duds, turning point and more

Celtics 102, Sixers 92: Studs, duds, turning point and more


The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame won’t be putting in a call for the film of this one.

The Sixers’ home opener Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center was sloppy and foul-filled. At times, it was downright ugly.

Basically, it was Sixers-Celtics.

In the end, the Sixers didn’t have enough down the stretch of a 102-92 loss (see observations).

There was plenty to take away from the defeat as the team heads into the second half of its first back-to-back of the season.

Turning point
The Sixers took a three-point advantage into the fourth quarter. And while their offense went cold, their defense completely collapsed.

The Sixers gave up 33 points in the final frame, a high for both teams in any quarter during the game.

Key stat
Bickering with the refs didn't help the Sixers' cause on the stat sheet.

They committed 31 personal fouls compared to 24 by the Celtics. That also helped fuel the free throw disparity. The Sixers made 12 of 16 FTs, while the C's connected on 22 of 32 from the charity stripe.

Offensive stud
It’s amazing what having real shooters can do for a team. Redick and Jerryd Bayless proved that again Friday night.

The pair of veteran guards helped keep the Sixers afloat when things weren’t looking great for the squad early and kept on contributing to the final buzzer.

Overall, Redick and Bayless combined for 37 points and eight three-pointers.

Offensive dud
Joel Embiid won’t find his name here often, but the big fella was far from his usual self against the Celtics. 

Embiid shot just 4 for 16 (0 for 6 from three-point range) for 11 points. He added 14 boards to secure a double-double, but it didn't help on the scoreboard.

For a guy lobbying hard to play in back-to-back sets, he sure looked tired.

Defensive stud
You can make an argument Irving is the best offensive point guard in the entire NBA. That’s why what T.J. McConnell did was so impressive.

When matched up with Irving, McConnell got right into the All-Star’s chest and didn’t back down. He’s a big reason Irving shot 7 for 17 and committed five turnovers.

Defensive dud
Not that it’s his fault, but Dario Saric struggled severely when matched up against opposing centers Al Horford and Aron Baynes. 

Brett Brown wants to run Saric at the five at times with the second unit, but it hasn’t yielded much success so far through two games. (Jahlil Okafor, anyone?)

The Sixers made it through a second consecutive game without any injuries. Keep those fingers crossed.

Courtside celebs
Sixer staples rapper Meek Mill and filmmaker M. Night Shyamalan were both in attendance. The latter was seated next to legendary actor Samuel L. Jackson.

Up next
The Sixers don’t have any time to dwell on this one as they head straight for a matchup with another 2016-17 playoff team in the Toronto Raptors Saturday night (7:30 p.m./NBC Sports Philadelphia).

Heat's Justise Winslow fined $15K for stepping on Joel Embiid's mask

Heat's Justise Winslow fined $15K for stepping on Joel Embiid's mask

The NBA dished out some swift justice on Friday night.

Heat swingman Justise Winslow was fined $15,000 by the league for unsportsmanlike conduct after intentionally stepping on and attempting to damage Joel Embiid’s mask during the Sixers’ Game 3 win in Miami (see story).

With 7:51 remaining in the second quarter, the goggles portion of Embiid’s mask fell onto the court. Winslow stepped on the goggles with his left foot before picking them up and trying to break them with his hands.

“He kept throwing it on the ground, so I don’t know if he didn’t like it or what,” Winslow said. “But I was talking to JoJo, we were smack talking, trash talking, going back and forth. No love lost.”

The incident definitely didn’t stop Embiid in his postseason debut. The big man returned from orbital surgery to put up 23 points, seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks in the Sixers’ 128-108 victory.

“Justise stepped on it and tried to break it with his hands,” Embiid said. “But little do they know is that I have about 50 of them. So it’s going to take much more than that to get me out of the series. 

“I’m going to be a nightmare for them, too.” 

Dwyane Wade has nothing but praise for student Ben Simmons

USA Today Images

Dwyane Wade has nothing but praise for student Ben Simmons

MIAMI — Ben Simmons’ relationship with LeBron James through their agency is well known.

Along the way, Simmons has learned from another superstar veteran. He just happens to be Simmons’ first playoff opponent, too.

Dwyane Wade remembers a quiet Simmons watching workouts with him and James before Simmons was making his mark in the NBA. The teenager observed the ways the future Hall of Famers prepared for their time on the court and how much effort they put in while on it. He stored it in his memory bank to later implement it into his game.

“You could see the way he looked at guys like ourselves and how we worked,” Wade said. “He was taking notes, mental notes. To see him a few years later and see where he is in his game and the affect on a state and a city with his ability to play the game of basketball on such a high level, it’s impressive.”

Good day of work!

A post shared by dwyanewade (@dwyanewade) on

Simmons watched Wade while he was growing up. A student of NBA guards, he saw Wade win three championships before he reached college at LSU. Since Simmons’ father had a sponsorship with Converse while playing pro, he also wore Wade’s sneakers.

“I’ve always looked at him as one of those guys you try to model your game after and learn things from,” Simmons said.  

Wade’s longevity in the league has allowed younger players to catch up to the 15-year veteran and compete on the same stage. Wade had a vintage performance in Game 2 when he scored 28 points in the Heat’s win.

Simmons is averaging a consistent 20 points, 10 rebounds, 9.7 assists and 2.0 steals in the series. He joined Oscar Robertson as the only two players with at least 60 points, 25 rebounds and 25 assists through their first three postseason games.

“To see where he is now, he’s not just a Rookie of the Year candidate,” Wade said. “He’s a very good basketball player. We have our work cut out for us every night because of what he brings to the table.”

Simmons remained his usual calm, competitive self after hearing of Wade's high praise. He doesn't want to just know the best in the NBA, he wants to be one of the best.

“I want to whoop him,” Simmons said with a laugh, his team up in the series 2-1. “He knows that too. It’s definitely a compliment. It means a lot, especially coming from him, somebody who’s been there and won championships. But that’s not my focus right now. I want to win.”