The Boston Celtics are winners of nine straight as they blew out the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, 135-87.
It was an utterly dominant performance from start to finish for the C's at Wells Fargo Center. They took a 27-point lead into the half and led by as many as 50, their second-largest lead of the season.
MVP candidate Joel Embiid notched 19 points for the 76ers with 13 of them coming from the free-throw line. Tyrese Maxey contributed 11 in what was a dismal night all around for Philly.
Here are a few instant takeaways from the Celtics' lopsided victory, which brings them to 34-25 on the season. They'll look to extend the win streak to double digits Wednesday night when they host the Detroit Pistons.
Elite on both ends
It's virtually impossible to play any better than the Celtics did on Tuesday night... on the road against a top Eastern Conference team and the MVP frontrunner, no less.
The C's, who entered Tuesday's action 24th in the NBA in 3-point percentage, went a ridiculous 25-for-45 (55.6%) from beyond the arc. That's a new franchise record for 3s made in a game.
Boston shot 46-for-82 (56.1%) from the field.
Pretty much everyone on Boston's roster was automatic. Meanwhile, the 76ers were on the opposite end of the spectrum as the C's stifling defense made its presence felt.
Philadelphia hit only eight of its 32 attempts from long range. It shot 23-for-78 (28.7%) from the field, meaning the Celtics hit more 3s than the Sixers made 2s.
Boston did a tremendous job limiting Embiid even with Robert Williams sidelined with a calf injury. The 76ers big man led his team with 19 points, but shot only 3-for-9 from the field and scored 13 of those points from the charity stripe. Maxey was the only other Sixers player to score in double figures.
Over their last 12 games, the Celtics have outscored their opponents by 253 points. The East has officially been put on notice.
Jaylen Brown makes a statement
From the opening tip, the Celtics had it all working for them offensively. Jaylen Brown set the tone early.
Brown dropped 11 points in the first quarter and stayed hot with another 15 in the second. He finished with 29 points (10-17 FG, 5-7 3PT) and eight rebounds in 29 minutes.
The previous two games were a struggle for Brown as he shot a combined 10-for-32 from the floor and 2-for-12 from 3. The 25-year-old snapped out of the brief funk with a spectacular showing, and it might not be a coincidence that it came right after his latest All-Star snub. Cleveland Cavaliers big man Jarrett Allen was selected over him as James Harden's injury replacement on Monday.
Also putting on a show for the C's was Jayson Tatum. An All-Star for the third straight year, Tatum dropped 28 points (9-17 FG, 4-8 3PT) and brought down 12 boards in 30 minutes.
This was the third time in the last 11 games that Tatum and Brown have been either tied with or beating the other team by themselves at halftime, as The Athletic's Jay King pointed out. Now that's dominance.
Daniel Theis picks up where he left off
Theis made his first start since returning to Boston at the NBA trade deadline and it was like he never left. The German big man drilled a 3 for his first shot attempt back with the C's.
With Robert Williams out and Al Horford in foul trouble early, Theis immediately was thrust into a significant role. He ended up stuffing the stat sheet with five points, nine rebounds, four blocks, and two assists in 20 minutes. His defensive presence was felt in the C"s frontcourt and should be useful off the bench for Boston going forward.
Marcus Smart's injury leaves a mark
Smart suffered the injury on a collision with Embiid. He stayed in the game to shoot free throws then needed to be helped off the court.
It's unclear how much time Smart will miss. On the bright side, Wednesday night's game vs. the Pistons will be Boston's last game before the All-Star break, so Smart will have plenty of time to rest up. In the meantime, we can expect newcomer Derrick White to get most of the minutes at the point guard spot.