The Philadelphia 76ers suffered their second consecutive preseason defeat to the Boston Celtics, making their first preseason game at the Wells Fargo Center forgettable. While the Phillies’ Bryce Harper led the team to a thrilling NLDS victory next door, the Sixers fell to a 112-101 loss, dropping to 0-2 in the preseason. Both losses came at the hands of the Celtics.
Kelly Oubre Jr. and Tyrese Maxey led the scoring for the Sixers, with 18 and 17 points respectively. Payton Pritchard was the top scorer for the Celtics with 17 points. Notable absences for the Sixers included James Harden, Joel Embiid, Furkan Korkmaz, and Danuel House Jr., while Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum sat out for the Celtics.
The Sixers’ next preseason game will be against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday night. Sixers head coach Nick Nurse expects to have all players available for that game, although he jokingly expressed uncertainty.
Here are three observations from the Sixers’ loss to the Celtics:
1. Reed recalibrating: Paul Reed, who missed a three-pointer in the Sixers’ preseason opener, continued to struggle with his shot selection. He is still adjusting to his role as a shooter and needs to be more decisive and confident. Despite this, Reed showed improvement in the third quarter, displaying better decision-making and even contributing with assists.
2. Green’s still got something: Despite not being the quickest player on the court, Danny Green proved his worth with his shooting ability and basketball IQ. He made significant contributions offensively, scoring eight points in just under four minutes, including a step-back three-pointer. Green’s presence was an asset to the team’s transition offense, and his experience and leadership qualities were appreciated by his teammates.
3. Defensive work to do: The Sixers struggled on defense, allowing the Celtics to score 67 points in the first half. Nurse acknowledged the need to address physicality and improve defensive play. There were moments of miscommunication, but the team hopes to resolve these issues before the regular season. Jaden Springer showed promise on both ends of the court, contributing offensively and impressing with his defensive approach.
Overall, the Sixers will aim to improve their performance before the regular season begins, striking a better balance between aggressive defense and foul trouble. With adjustments in shot selection and defensive strategies, the team hopes to bounce back in future preseason matchups.
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