BOSTON – When it comes to getting points off the Boston Celtics bench, all conversations typically begin and end with Isaiah Thomas.
But Boston’s second unit is far from a one-man scoring show which was evident on Wednesday when the Celtics’ bench dominated play in helping Boston pull away for a 112-95 win.
Thomas came off the bench and scored a game-high 27 points, but the Celtics’ reserves collectively chipped in 67 points compared to just 15 points for the Sixers’ second unit.
“Our bench has to be a great source of energy and scoring and everything else for us,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. “I thought they came out of the gates great.”
Their play certainly was a key factor in Boston’s season-opening victory in which several players stood out.
Here are some of the Stars, Studs and Duds in Wednesday night’s game.
He led all scorers with 27 points, 17 of which came in the second half as Boston pulled away for the comfortable win. It was a strong bounce-back for Thomas who didn't shoot the ball particularly well during the preseason.
When Johnson entered the game for the first time, the Celtics trailed by nine points (26-17). By the time he went back to bench in the second quarter, the Celtics were up by seven points (35-28). He finished with 15 points and seven rebounds but his greatest contribution was simply impacting the game with his presence.
He was a dominant force around the basket all game, forcing the Celtics to double-team him sooner than anticipated. He led the Sixers with 26 points on 10-for-16 shooting from the field to go with seven rebounds.
With opportunities expected to be limited for Boston’s big men, Sullinger made the most of his chance to get on the floor early. He did a nice job defensively against Okafor, and made his presence felt offensively as well with 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting, to go with seven rebounds and two assists.
He didn’t shoot the ball particularly well (3-for-8), but he made lots of heady plays and did a nice job most of the night navigating the offense. He finished with 13 points, five assists, two steals and one block with just one turnover.
This was not one of Zeller’s best performances, especially when it came to defending Jahlil Okafor. That’s why Zeller played just under 11 minutes while finishing with six points and one rebound with a team-worst plus/minus of minus-6.