BOSTON – The most talked-about aspect of this Boston Celtics team throughout training camp has been their depth.
They come at you in waves, with the second one just as forceful as its predecessor.
It is essentially the blueprint for this franchise to win now, a plan that worked quite well on Wednesday as Boston overcame a rocky first half to pull away for a 112-95 win.
Isaiah Thomas spent most of the preseason lobbying for Brad Stevens to put him in the starting up, but always maintained he would do whatever is necessary for Boston to win games.
Coming off the bench, Thomas drew first blood as a potential Sixth Man of the Year winner (he was runner-up last season) with a game-high 27 points and seven assists along with three steals.
One of his favorite targets was Amir Johnson, whose 15 points and seven rebounds only told part of the story for his impact on the game.
With the Celtics struggling to assert control of the game in the first half, Johnson came in and made a slew of solid defensive plays which led to easier scoring opportunities.
And just like that, the Celtics had control of the game and never let up.
Philadelphia is expected to be among the league’s worst teams this year, and had more than a few stretches where they lived up to – or down depending on your perspective – those predictions. However, the Sixers’ frontcourt has tremendous promise in Everett, Mass. native Nerlens Noel and rookie center Jahlil Okafor.
Noel’s defensive versatility was a factor in keeping Philadelphia from getting totally blown out, and he’s showing growth as a scorer, too. He finished with a double-double of 14 points and 12 rebounds with three steals and a pair of blocked shots.
Okafor, the third overall selection in last June’s NBA draft, led all Sixers scorers with 26 points in addition to grabbing seven rebounds.