In a preview of what could be an interesting Eastern Conference rivalry over the next few seasons, the Boston Celtics took down the Philadelphia 76ers in preseason action on Friday night 110-102 in Philly. Markelle Fultz, Joel Embiid, and Dario Saric sat out for the Sixers, but it was still an entertaining game, even if it didn't matter. Here are a few quick takeaways from the Celtics' win.
Kyrie Irving, Celtics' new additions impressive:
The Celtics had a big offseason, acquiring Gordon Hayward in free agency, Kyrie Irving through a trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Jayson Tatum via the draft. Against the Sixers, the new guys showed why Celtics fans are so excited about their haul this summer. The trio combined for 39 points on 15-for-32 shooting, and none of them played more than 25 minutes.
Irving, in particular, was impressive, going for 21 points on 7-14 from the field. With all of the weapons the Celtics have on offense, Irving figures to get plenty of open looks this season, and as he showed Friday night, that's bad news for opposing defenses.
Ben Simmons is still a rookie:
He's going to be good. We saw that the other night when he was getting wherever he wanted against the Grizzlies, and continually set up his teammates with some impressive passes. With his size he's able to see over defenses and can use angles shorter players can't. Friday night against the Celtics, however, was a reminder that he's still a rookie and hasn't played a regular season game yet. He still had his moments -- a few nice passes, a long-range alley-oop finish -- but he also had a bunch of turnovers (five, to be exact) and made some ill-advised drives where he got out of control and wound up with offensive fouls.
Hey, guys, this was a preseason game:
These two teams are no stranger to physical play when they get on the court together (recall Larry Bird and Julius Erving's fight in 1984), but it was a bit surprising to see this preseason game be played with so much intensity.
Plus, Marcus Smart was playing defense like it was a playoff game, taking multiple steals in the backcourt. One, in particular, was quite impressive, as the indefatigable guard reached in and appeared to have tied up Richaun Holmes with one hand, then ripped the ball free. As the ball bounced to the floor, Smart dove to secure it, then somehow passed it off to Terry Rozier, which led to an easy two for Boston.