Boston (25-11) traveled to Philadelphia to square off against the Sixers (25-14) in the second game of a back-to-back, where the Celtics fell 109-98. For just the first time this season, the Celts have lost three consecutive games.
After a stellar shooting performance on Wednesday, Gordon Hayward notched just eight points, two assists and two boards in 35 minutes of action.
Two of G’s eight points came on this kiss of the glass in the final 30 seconds of the first half, which extend the Boston lead to seven at the half.
Despite the result, Boston accomplished some good things throughout the game, and were close to obtaining a victory, but a few too many mistakes caught up with them on Thursday night. However, if Gordon and his teammates continue to bring this same level of energy and effort the rest of the season, the results will surely follow.
The Celtics and 76ers were neck-and-neck for the majority of the second half, but when it came to crunch-time, Boston just couldn’t close the deal.
This team knows it is a long season, and they have the talent, focus and experience to get back in the win column.
“If we play like we did tonight, clean some things up and play with a little more pop,” Celtics head Coach Brad Stevens said, “then I like what we’re becoming.”
Stevens even took his comments a step further, saying he saw improvements in the Bronston’s overall play, despite the loss.
“Clearly, we were more locked in and played a lot better than we had before,” Stevens said. “I thought there were a lot more examples of who we want to be tonight than the last couple of games.”
One of the highlights from tonight was Kemba Walker, who dropped 26 points in just his second game back from injury. Walker’s return will be a welcome addition in the starting lineup and will likely open up the floor for some of Boston’s other weapons, like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Marcus Smart also had a noteworthy night on Thursday, recording 24 points on a highly efficient 9-of 14 shooting performance with three triples. If Smart can continue to offer strong scoring performance like this one off the bench throughout the season, it will just add more depth to an already potent offensive lineup.
The Walker-Smart tandem combined for 50 of the C’s 98 points with each hitting five shots from beyond the arc.
The C’s will be back at it Saturday, heading back home to TD Garden for a contest with the Pelicans (13-25). Tip-off is at 7 p.m. ET.