The Boston Celtics got back on track against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 2 of the series after losing Game 1. The Sixers hoped that the return of newly crowned MVP Joel Embiid would spark an upset, but the big man’s comeback did not lead to a victory.
The Celtics took the lead early on and never gave it back. By the end of the third quarter, Boston’s lead had swelled to 27 points after being just eight at halftime. After then, it was over, and the Boston Celtics won by 121 points to 87. At 1-1, the series moves to Philadelphia this weekend for Games 3 and 4.
Jaylen Brown had 25 points, four assists, and three rebounds to lead the Celtics in Game 2, and Malcolm Brogdon contributed 23 points and six rebounds off the bench. Because of his foul issues, Jayson Tatum was limited to 19 minutes of action and scored seven points. However, the Boston Celtics won without him scoring more than 12 points because they got that many from five other players.
Harden scored 45 points in Game 1 of the series and faltered in Game 2. He scored 12 points, grabbed 10 boards, and dished out 4 assists while shooting just 2-of-14 from the field. Embiid played 27 minutes and scored 15 points with three rebounds, but his return was less successful than he had wanted. One bright spot for the Sixers is that he appeared reasonably healthy.
The Boston Celtics bounced back from a setback, and now the onus is on the Sixers to do the same. Its coming Friday night in Philadelphia. We will play Game 3. Before we go on to that game, here are three important things to remember from Boston’s resounding Game 2 victory.
Three-Point Shooting Decisive in Celtics vs. Sixers Game 2: Analysis
The three-point line is a huge factor in today’s NBA games, and the Sixers took advantage of it by outscoring the Celtics by 21 points in Game 1. In that game, the Celtics hit only 10 of 26 three-point shots. The team’s strategy for Game 2 was to increase their number of tries from long range, as stated by head coach Joe Mazzulla before the game.
The Celtics made 20 of their 51 3-point attempts (a number that is double what they made in the first game). The Sixers, however, made only six of their thirty tries. An astounding 42-point differential was the game-winner in this matchup. The Celtics saw seven players score in double figures, highlighted by Malcolm Brogdon’s six points on the bench thanks to six three-pointers.
The team that has been more successful from beyond the arc thus far in this series has been the victor. Will this pattern persist into the future?
Malcolm Brogdon Shines as Boston Celtics’ Sixth Man in Series Against Sixers
So far in this series, Malcolm Brogdon has proven why he was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year for the current season. Brogdon led Boston with 20 points, three boards, and three helpers in Game 1. Despite Brogdon’s best efforts, the Celtics fell short of victory. He continued his reliable scoring for Boston in a bench position in Game 2. In just 24 minutes of action, he racked up 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists.
Malcolm Brogdon's 23 points (6-10 3PM) help the @celtics even the series at 1-1!
BOS/PHI Game 3: Friday, 7:30pm/et on ESPN pic.twitter.com/HvyTuLC5HF
— NBA (@NBA) May 4, 2023
In Boston’s first two games, Brogdon has been a strong X-factor, shooting 16-of-31 from the field and 8-of-16 from deep.
Sixers Need to Step Up Offensive Playmaking After Poor Assist Performance in Game 2
The Sixers recorded their fewest assists of the season (13) in Game 2, while the Celtics had 26 as a team, which is predictive of the game’s outcome. The Celtics could effectively distribute the ball and create open looks, while the Sixers failed to do the same. Their offense seemed to bog down for lengthy portions of the play, and we didn’t see the same aggressive performances from Harden and Maxey that we saw in the first game. In addition, the Celtics tried to avoid double Embiid, which reduced Philadelphia’s availability to pass the ball. The 76ers need to create offense better and force Boston’s defense to work in Game 3.
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