After all the talk of the Philadelphia 76ers being the more talented team, the Boston Celtics continue to surprise. The genius of Brad Stevens has turned a team of bench players into a formidable starting five. Despite missing two of their star players, the Celtics made quick work of a fully healthy 76ers team. The scary thing about this Celtics team is that they seem to be improving series by series. In this post-series analysis, we take a look at both teams and how it played out.
Boston Celtics Beat Philadelphia 76ers in Five Games
The MVP: Jayson Tatum
In the second series, Tatum turned things completely around. Against the 76ers, Tatum averaged 24 points. He also shot 53 percent from the field. Tatum took big strides in this round and is showing his ability to grow and adapt after each game.
Despite shooting 32 percent from three-point range against Philadelphia, the star rookie showed his ability to be smart about his shots with his high field goal percentage. Tatum has shown great poise and looks primed to have another great series against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“Scary” Terry Rozier has lived up to his name in the second round of the playoffs. A young player in his sophomore season, Rozier has shown he’s as dangerous a shooter as any player in the league.
After averaging 18 points and 7 assists in the first round of the playoffs, Rozier exploded for a career-high 29 points in the first game of the semifinals. He continues to be one of Bostons best threats from behind the arc. Improving his three-point shooting from 38 percent in the first round, to 42 percent in the second round. Roziers assist numbers went down in the second round, but his rebounding improved. Should he improve his assist numbers, Rozier is evolving into a triple-double threat.
Philadelphia’s star rookie Ben Simmons took a major step backward in this series against the Celtics. After averaging nearly a triple-double against the Miami Heat, Simmons numbers went down in nearly all stat categories against the Celtics. Though he didn’t play as well in this series, his stats look worse than they actually are. Simmons infamous “one” point game brought down his point average greatly.
In three of the five games played in the series, Simmons shot greater than 50 percent from the field. In the four games that Simmons scored double digits, he averaged 18 points. Simmons doesn’t have a good jump shot. If he takes this summer to develop one and he combines that with his ability to attack the basket, he’ll be an even bigger force in the Eastern Conference as soon as next year.
Joel Embiid didn’t have a bad playoff series by any means. However, he has a lot to improve on. In the regular season, Embiids three-point percentage dipped from 37 percent in his rookie season, to 31 percent in his sophomore year. In his first playoff appearance, Embiid shot 28 percent from behind the arc. He did average a respectable 21 points for the eight games he played.
Embiid is a young player. However if he can continue to transform into the franchise talent he’s capable of, Philadelphia will become a powerhouse team for years to come.
Nervous for the Process
The Philadelphia 76ers were one of the NBA’s hottest teams going into the playoffs. They made quick work of the Miami Heat and looked poised for a trip to the Eastern Conference finals, possibly the NBA finals. Their hopes of a long playoff run slowly faded after their game two loss to the Celtics in the semifinals.
Their coach Brett Brown is new to this playoff atmosphere and didn’t do enough to maximize his teams potential on the floor. The 76ers blew multiple leads throughout the series and didn’t make the proper adjustments against the Celtics on both the offensive and defensive end.
Trust the Celtics
With all the talk about trusting the process in Philadelphia, everyone had seemed to forget about the rebuild that happened with the Boston Celtics. A rebuild that began after they traded away their core of players that included Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The fact that they are down two-star players, and are at the Eastern Conference finals, is a true testament to their great coaching.
Boston’s depth is unmatched by any team. They look to keep the good times rolling against the Cleveland Cavaliers, however beating LeBron James will be one tough task. One thing to watch however is that Boston is undefeated at home during these playoffs.
The Boston Celtics were never meant to get this far in the playoffs. The fact that they had no expectations coming into the playoffs makes them a very dangerous team.
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