Celtics

Brown, Tatum Give Celtics Series Lead Over Sixers

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The Boston Celtics opened their 2020 playoffs with a 109-101 defeat of the Philadelphia 76ers Monday afternoon behind big performances from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. Boston was able to contain Joel Embiid after the first quarter, while also taking advantage of the Sixers being loose with the basketball. However, Gordon Hayward left the game in the fourth quarter and did not return.

 

The Jay’s Cook

Tatum led the way for the Celtics, as he scored a playoff career-high 32 points while also adding 13 rebounds and three blocks. He was able to score from all levels, from the pull up three, to the floater. Brown added 29 points with six rebounds and three steals. Whenever the Celtics needed a big shot in the second half, Brown was there to take it. With Ben Simmons out for the series, the young duo needs to continue to take advantage of Philly’s lack of wing defense.

Inconsistent Effort From Embiid

For the Sixers to compete in this series, they’ll need a dominant effort from Joel Embiid. In the first quarter he looked like the best player in the league, putting up a first-quarter playoff career-high 11 points. He was bullying the Celtics in the paint and even hit a couple step-back jumpers. As the game progressed, however, the Sixers began to go away from giving the ball to Embiid and letting him work.

After starting the game 5-5, Embiid proceeded to shoot just 3-10 the remainder of the game. Even though he finished with 26 points and 16 rebounds, the Sixers will need more production out of him if they wish to win the series.

 

Celtics Win Turnover Battle

The Celtics’ defense was able to harass the Sixers out on the wing, forcing 18 turnovers. Four of the five starters for Philly had at least three turnovers, while Embiid led the team with five. Boston did a great job of applying ball pressure and coming with hard double-teams in the post. The Sixers also made some careless decisions and were often times too slow in reading the defense.

Hayward’s Status Unknown

Gordon Hayward departed last night’s game in the fourth quarter with a right ankle sprain and did not return. Prior to leaving the game, he had 12 points and four steals. It was reported that he was seen leaving the arena with a boot and crutches, leaving his Game 2 status in doubt. If Hayward is out for an extended period of time, the Celtics will have to lean on either Semi Ojeleye or Romeo Langford to step up. The latter is dealing of an injury of his own, with torn ligaments in his right wrist.

The Celtics will return to action on Wednesday at 6:30 PM ET for Game 2.

Follow us on Twitter @CelticsLead for the latest Celtics news and insight.

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About Mason Urban

Sports writer for The Spectrum newspaper and contributor for The Lead Sports Media

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