The Beard looks trimmed


The NBA is finally back and you know no one is more excited than myself!

The first of two primetime TNT games was the Philadelphia 76ers visiting last years Eastern Conference champions Boston Celtics. I took the money line on this game because I felt like the bumpy offseason for the Celtics would take a while to wash away. Let's see if I got this one right.

I wanted to mention the beautiful pre game ceremony in honor of the late great Bill Russell. I thought the Celtics did a fantastic job honoring the legend. The Celtics now sport a 6 in the middle of both paints that I do hope they keep all season. Now to the game.

First Half

Harden sets the tone.

The Celtics game out strong jumping out to a 9-2 early lead. Jayson Tatum came out as spirited as I've seen him being aggressive on offense and even sending a shot into the stands with a beautiful block.

The Sixers regrouped and found some rhythm behind the  aggressive play of James Hardens. Harden finished the first quarter with a game high 16pts going to the line multiple times behind a slew of Celtics fouls at the 3 point line. Harden had 8 free throw makes in the first half.

When asked after the first quarter coach Doc Rivers was quoted as saying "James looks like he has his pop back and we are giving him the green light."

Harden was looking like the Beard of old hitting his trademark step back 3 and sending Marcus Smart flying, into the opposite direction then pulling back behind the 3 but ultimately missing the shot. If he made it that would of been a early entry into the play of the year. 

(view here)  

James and Embid both came out with great first half's leading the Sixers in points assist and rebounds as expected.

Tyrese Maxey chipped in with 9points and 2asts who has continued his solid play from preseason and building on last years strong performance. 

The Celtics 2 young stars came out of the gates shooting well. Tatum with his trademark setbacks and rim attacks put constant pressure on the Sixers defense. Especially PJ tucker who looked like his age might be catching up to him.

Brown and Tatum finished the half with 34 points to keep up with the Sixers.

The score at the half is PHI 63 -BOS 63.

 Second Half

They Jays Dominate

 image via The Athletic 

(after the game Marcus Smart was asked about the entanglement he got into with Embid) "I COULD OF CRACKED HIS HEAD OPEN BUT I DIDNT" 

The second half kicked off with Joel Embed and Marcus Smart getting into a tussle over a rebound. Smarts arm was tangled in Joels arms as Embid grabbed the rebound. Once the players got intertwined Embid looked to pull and twist Marcus to the ground. Then Smart grabbed at Joels ankle and Embid proceeded to do a little soccer acting to entice the ref. The play resulted in a Technical foul and a common foul respectively.

Once the game got settled back in Jayson Tatum lead a Celtics run that would see the guys in green go up 12 points. The biggest lead for any team tonight. Jason capped the run with a beautiful step back losing Embid and Tucker both sending the crowd into a frenzy. (view here).

Tatum finished the quater totaling 31pts 9Rebs 2AST.

James Harden and Tyrese Maxey tried their best to weather the storm with Embid exiting in foul trouble early in the 3rd. They kept it competive and as the Celtics took a 10 point lead into the 4th.

4th Quater

Maxey came out still hot keeping the Sixers within a respectable margin early in the fourth. It looks like when the ball is not in Harden's hands Tyrese is the Sixers best playmaker. He is lightning quick and has decent touch on his floater. Fantastic ball handling skills and now has extended his range to beyond the arc.

Jalen and believe it or not Greg Williams had most of the offensive production early in the fourth. I feel like Greg Williams is the opposite of Draymond Green a undersized 4 who can actually score and talks very little.

Tobias Harris was scoreless until the final min in the second half. Going 7-14 from the field but 1-7 in the second half.

The Sixers offense looked a-lot less fluid in the second half, predominately relying on Maxey drives or Embid post ups that resulted in not much.

Brown put the game to bed scoring his 35th point on a beautiful jump shot that looked true all night.

The second half was pretty much dominated by the Celtics who look eager to prove even without their head coach Ive Udoka that they are ontop the East pecking order.

 The star tandem of Tatum and Brown put up huge numbers. Both young wings scoring 35 points each and Jayson grabbing 12 boards.

The Sixers looked out of sync in that second half and certainly need to figure some things out on the offensive end. The good news is James Harden looks in shape and focused to have one of his best seasons since his MVP year.

My Takeaways 

  • Jayson Tatum continues his high level of play from last season. Tonights player of the game putting up 35pts 12rebs 4 Ast. He came out like a true leader and set the tone for his team.
  • Jalen Brown is a solidifed number 2 option. Night to night he and Tatum will share leading scorer duties.
  • Grant Williams is a solid player. Who knew? Not me.
  • James Harden might be back. If he can continue to play this way he will earn his spot back in peoples hearts as one of the best two guards in the game.
  • Joel Embid needs to tune up. I have never been a huge fan of Embid but the numbers show he's a MVP type player. My only issue has been his mindset through games and seasons. After that Tussell with Smart early in the 3rd I felt like he lost a grip of the game. He finished the game with 26pts 15rebs   5ast.

Thank you guys for taking the time to read this. Welcome back NBA basketball!

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