In what was a grueling game between two long-time rivals, the Philadelphia 76ers lost on the road in Boston.
The start of the NBA regular season was an eventful night that cemented the rivalry between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics as one of premiere matchups for the rest of the season.
It was an ugly game for the Sixers with a total of 16 turnovers and 20 personal fouls. The team shot a combined 5-26 from three and looked absolutely sluggish on defense. If this team wants to compete for a championship they need to improve dramatically, because as of now the Celtics hold the key to the NBA Finals.
Let’s look at the player grades from last night.
In what is the highest grade of the night, Ben Simmons delivered on a flashy stat line and highlight reel plays. What dragged his grade down was his inefficiency from the free throw line and his lack of assertiveness coming out of the locker room in the second half. Even with those flaws, Simmons was clearly the best player on the floor tonight for the Sixers.
It was a normal night for Embiid. He played some excellent perimeter defense and was the leading scorer for the team tonight, but he took bad shots from outside the arc and had way too many turnovers. Reggie Miller mentioned during the game that Embiid would look at the game tape, see the stare downs and disrespect from the young players, and use that to come back at the Celtics for when the teams meet again. These two teams next play on Christmas day. What a gift!
Although the stat line does not show it, T.J. McConnell looked like the only player that really wanted to win this game. He ran the floor and found players for open shots. His energy was solid, but not enough to impact the outcome of the game. His one shot from three was way off the point.
Robert Covington looked absolutely out of place tonight. His shot was completely off the mark and his defense was lacking. Covington is known as a streaky-shooter and tonight was a prime example of why that is believed. In addition, there was a play where Jayson Tatum nearly crossed Covington onto the ground. For an All Defense 1st Team selection, it was a bad look.
I am not going to sugarcoat this. Fultz had a rough first start. He ran into traffic, gave up the ball, and shot poorly. He graded out with a game-worst -16 and looked ineffectual as the primary point guard. While it is important to mention that the Celtics knew how to handle Fultz, It was a rough evening for a young player that needs to build confidence in his game.
The Boston Celtics are a team with a fantastic head coach, talented starters, and an extremely potent second unit. There is a reason why they are projected as the top team in the Eastern Conference. Not to mention that it was a home game for the Celtics. Let us see them when they come to Philly and then make our judgment.
The fact that the Sixers were able to stay close through most of the game was an encouraging sight and shows that this team can be contenders by the end of the season. They must shoot better and cut down on their turnovers if they want to compete for a Championship.
While this season opener may have been disappointing to Sixer fans, we can take solace from the fact that the team next plays the Bulls and the Magic. Good things come to those that wait!