After a regular season that came crashing to a hault due to the Covid 19 pandemic, and an eight game seeding phase. The NBA playoffs are upon us. The Sixers begin their run toward a title with a first round match up against the rival Boston Celtics.
Philadelphia was paced in the first quarter by big man Joel Embiid. Embiid had 11 points in the first and made his first 5 shots from the field. However, the Sixers weren’t able to get any real separation due self inflicted wounds. 7 turnovers in the first twelve minutes led to the Sixers just holding a 1 point lead at the end of one, 26-25.
The second quarter was all Boston. The Celtics charged ahead by as many as 10 points, led by Jayson Tatum. Tatum had 15 in the quarter and 21 points to finish the half. Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson helped to close the gap with 8 and 10 points at the half respectively. But, it wasn’t quite enough as Boston led by 6 after 24 minutes of play 55-49.
Tatum continued where he left off in the second quarter by hitting his first couple a shots. Shake Milton tried to keep pace for Philly hitting a big 3 to keep it within 6. The two teams traded baskets for most of the 2nd half of the quarter, Philly eventually chipped away at what blossom to another 10 point lead. The Sixers used a 13-0 run in the last 3 minutes of the quarter capped off by an emphatic put back by former Celtic, Al Horford to take a 4 point lead. Sixers lead after three, 79-75.
Play tightened up in the 4th quarter as the Celtics used a quick spurt to pull even at 86, with just over 8 minutes left in regulation. Boston took at advantage of an awful flagrant foul call on Horford, making both free throws and scoring again on the ensuing possession. This would lead to a 15-5 Celtics run. The Sixers were however able to pull off a 9-4 run of their own to get with in 3 with just over a minute left. But it wasn’t enough Boston made a key stop and knocked down their free throws at the other end, and came away with a Game 1 win.
Final Score: Celtics 109 Sixers 101