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Stephen A. Smith Tears Into Sixers For Game 1 Performance Vs. Celtics

02 May 2018, 01:12 | Kristopher Drake

Rozier helps Celtics beat 76ers in Eastern Conference semi Game 1

Boston Celtics

Already playing without their top two stars in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, Brad Stevens' side also missed Jaylen Brown. Since the start of the 2013 playoffs (including this year's three Game 1s), the team that entered with more rest between series is 10-8. Rozier's 29 was joined by rookie Jayson Tatum (28) and Al Horford (26). Instead, they put up a 119 offensive rating while shooting 17-of-36 from 3-point range. More than any other Sixer, his offense relies on hockey assists; a teammate gets the ball and is relatively open, draws a defender, then kicks it to another player who is even more open.

One of the highlights of the game came in the last minute of the third quarter, when Marcus Smart, 6-foot-4, leaped above the 7-footer and ripped down a rebound.

Philadelphia had not played in a week, and G Ben Simmons attributed some of the Sixers' poor performance on "being rusty" to reporters after the loss. The Celtics can nearly certainly survive Embiid scoring 30 points, if they restrict the arsenal of shooters deployed around him.

Rozier, who is filling in as the starting point guard for the injured Kyrie Irving, will likely at least have to duplicate his aforementioned home production against Philly to help combat the force that is Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and the 76ers. He averaged 24.1 points, 24.2 rebounds and almost eight assists per game when the Sixers rolled to the 1967 National Basketball Association championship. However, their supporting cast, except for veteran wingman J.J. Redick, did not show up.

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As the game played out, the Celtics seemed much more ready than the Sixers, who had the look of a team that was out of sync.

The Boston Celtics somehow continue to win games despite dealing with numerous key injuries, and they should have a chance to field an even better lineup against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 2.

But Fultz's rookie season has been eight months of weirdness, briefly interspersed with moments of brilliance that made the national narrative swing slightly towards "Hey, maybe the Celtics messed up!" Although Simmons and Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell reportedly lead the race for the Rookie of the Year award, Tatum is not far behind. But his role in the squad is noticeably not as prominent as that of Simmons or Mitchell. As is often the case with Horford, the boxscore didn't do justice to his contributions on either end of the floor. Brown will reportedly return from his hamstring injury in Game 2 on Thursday. Embiid, Simmons, and the Sixers are known to come back aggressively after a defeat.

A Sixers-Celtics game in November 1984 featured an epic brawl that saw players from both teams exchanging headlocks and haymakers.



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