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02 May 2018, 01:01 | Ken Black
3 thoughts from Boston's Game 1 victory over Ben Simmons' 76ers
The Boston Celtics poured in 117 points in their convincing 16-point victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series Monday at TD Garden, and big man Joel Embiid pointed the blame at his team's defense.
Al Horford finished with 26 points while first-year Celtics forward Tatum added a career-high 28 points.
Embiid scored 31 points with 13 rebounds for Philadelphia.
The Sixers, who held opponents to the lowest opponent field goal and three-point shooting percentages in the National Basketball Association, allowed the Celtics to shoot an impressive 48.2 percent from the field and 47.2 percent from three.
His play kept the game relatively close throughout the second half until the Celtics eventually pulled away in the fourth quarter.
The Boston Celtics entered Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals at a severe disadvantage against the surging Philadelphia 76ers, winners of 20 of their last 21 games. The Celtics can nearly certainly survive Embiid scoring 30 points, if they restrict the arsenal of shooters deployed around him. Rookie Ben Simmons showed flashes of his brilliance with 18 points, seven rebounds and six assists, but his seven turnovers were a major blemish on his overall performance. "I just think he's taken advantage of the opportunity", Horford said. "And it's great to see for our team". "But certainly since he's been in this starting role, he's been excellent, and we're going to need him to continue to be". "When everybody is on, we're the best defensive team in the game". Marcus Morris contributed 11 points, five rebounds, one assist, and one block coming off the bench.
It was Rozier who accidentally referred to Bucks' guard Eric Bledsoe as Drew Bledsoe after Game 1, causing Bledsoe to say "I don't know who the (expletive) Rozier is" after Game 2.
Embiid scored 54.1 FanDuel points in Game 1.
Sixers coach Brett Brown is familiar with the Philadelphia and Boston matchups of the 1980s, having grown up in South Portland, Maine.
"With Wilt and Bill and all the guys that have laid the foundation for us to play now, obviously it was before we were born but you appreciate the talent that they had and the rivalry that was put in place", guard T.J. McConnell said.
"We didn't executive offensively like we wanted to every time down the floor", Simmons said.
The Sixers made mistakes that wouldn't have affected them as much against the Heat that just took over the course of the game against the Celtics.
Warriors vs. Pelicans, Game 1 on Saturday night
The team is playing without Steph Curry , which is becoming less and less impressive by the minute. The Warriors are fresh off a first-round disposing of the San Antonio Spurs in five games.
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