Boston Celtics: Takeaways from Opening Night


After a sluggish first quarter the Boston Celtics trailed the Philadelphia 76ers, 26-21, but they erased the deficit and defeated their opponents 112-95 on Wednesday night at the TD Garden. The Celtics trailed by as many as 9 points and shot 34.8% from the field in the first quarter. The team took the lead in the second quarter on a basket by Isaiah Thomas, whose three-point play put the Celtics ahead 31-28.

From that point on, the team held the lead for the remainder of the game, and raced away with a 112-95 victory. Here are the major takeaways from Boston’s opening night win:

Watch Out for the Bench Mob

Boston’s reserves outperformed their own starters as well as Philadelphia’s bench. The Celtics’ bench outscored the Sixers’ bench 67-15. The Celtics had three players with double-digits points off the bench.

Boston’s sixth-man Isaiah Thomas led the team in scoring and assists with 27 and 7 respectively. Jared Sullinger came off the bench and was a difference-maker, scoring 12 points, gathering seven rebounds, and playing tough defense on Sixers rookie Jahlil Okafor. Amir Johnson also added 15 points, seven rebounds (three offensive rebounds), and two blocks in 20 minutes.

Singing Stevens’ Praises

Coach Brad Stevens preaches the importance of defense and that’s what helped the Celtics come back in this game. The trio of Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, and Jae Crowder combined for six steals and held their counterparts to a low shooting percentage from the field (36.8%).

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In addition, the Celtics’ defensive pressure forced 22 turnovers by the Sixers. Sure, their opponents were the lowly Sixers, who committed some unforced errors. However, don’t discredit Boston’s defense, which has the potential to be one of the best in the league.

Hot Start for Smart

Marcus Smart did a little bit of everything in the victory over the Sixers. Smart scored 14 points, including three 3-pointers, and dished out five assists. His three-point shooting is improving as he is clearly becoming more confident from beyond the arc.

He showcased his ability to make catch and shoot 3-pointers, which accounted for two out of his three 3-pointers. Smart also had one of the highlights of the game when he made a no look pass to Johnson, who finished with a reverse dunk. Take a look at Smart’s pretty assist to Johnson here:

All in all, this game was a great start for the Celtics. They showed off their impressive depth against the 76ers, and are going to be a team to watch in the Eastern Conference. In their next match-up, the Celtics will host the Toronto Raptors on Friday evening.

Next: Celtics' Final Preseason Grades

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