Celtics' Paint Power Prevails in Victory Over 76ers

Celtics' Paint Power Prevails in Victory Over 76ers

In a surprising turn of events on Tuesday night, the Boston Celtics clinched their ninth consecutive win, outclassing the Philadelphia 76ers with a final score of 117-99. What's even more intriguing? They did it with their 3-ball game taking an unexpected nosedive.

Let's face it; the Celtics are synonymous with long-range shooting, leading the NBA with a whopping 42.6 attempts from beyond the arc per game. Yet, against the 76ers, they managed to hit just five 3-pointers throughout the entire game. A meager number for a team that usually thrives on the deep shot.

Now, the big question arises: Can the Celtics survive and thrive without their trademark 3-point prowess?

Historically, the Celtics have been a force to be reckoned with when their 3-point game is on point. They boast an impressive 41-3 record when shooting 32 percent or better from downtown. However, on this particular night, they found themselves in an unusual situation, shooting a dismal 5-for-22 from beyond the arc.

But here's the plot twist – the Celtics didn't crumble under the pressure of a struggling 3-ball. Instead, they turned the game around by dominating the paint. With Joel Embiid sidelined, the 76ers had no answer to Boston's relentless attacks inside. Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum spearheaded the assault, with Kristaps Porzingis joining the party in the post. The trio combined for an impressive 42 points in the paint, ultimately giving the Celtics a 22-point edge over the 76ers.

This victory showcased a different side of the Celtics, proving that they can secure wins even when their go-to strategy isn't firing on all cylinders. It's almost like watching a superhero discovering a new power just in the nick of time.

Digging deeper, this game marked a significant departure from the Celtics' usual modus operandi. It was their first win with five or fewer threes since 2018, and they attempted the fewest 3-pointers in three years. A departure from the norm, yet a crucial lesson in adaptability.

Coach Joe Mazzulla summed it up perfectly: "This game was probably one of our best games of the year, from the standpoint of we were able to win a different way."

So, what fueled this unexpected success?

The Celtics displayed remarkable efficiency, boasting a true shooting percentage of 64.8. How did they achieve this? By relentlessly attacking the hoop and owning the paint. It's a stark reminder that sometimes, it's not about the flashy threes; it's about getting the job done, one basket at a time.

Mazzulla emphasized the shift in mindset, stating, "I don't love threes, I love great shots. This team has really grown into taking what the defense gives you every single night." It's a philosophy that paid off handsomely against the 76ers.

Jaylen Brown emerged as a force to be reckoned with, scoring 28 of his game-high 31 points from the paint or the free-throw line. His strategy was clear – prioritize paint touches over open threes to force the defense to collapse. It's a tactical move that speaks volumes about the Celtics' adaptability.

"He's just always in attack mode," Mazzulla praised Brown's aggressive style. "I love what Jaylen's doing. I love the work he's putting in, I love the poise he's playing with on the offensive end, I love the way he's getting different baskets."

And when Brown cooled off, Jayson Tatum stepped up to the plate. Tatum dominated the fourth quarter, scoring 15 of his 29 points in the final frame. While he struggled from beyond the arc, going 1-for-7, Tatum showcased the importance of attacking the rim and making the most of free-throw opportunities. His 27 points came off 20 shots, complemented by 11 rebounds and eight assists.

To complete the trifecta, Kristaps Porzingis added 23 points and 12 rebounds, further solidifying the Celtics' victory. Eight of Porzingis' points came from the paint, emphasizing that a balanced attack can overpower any opponent.

In the end, the Celtics' ability to secure a win with minimal reliance on threes is nothing short of enlightening. It sends a powerful message to the players – they have the talent to adapt and win in various ways. Tatum and Brown showcased that they can score from anywhere on the court, not just beyond the arc.

As Mazzulla rightly pointed out, this game provides a valuable template for the Celtics. It's a glimpse into how teams might strategize against them, and now they have another dimension to practice and refine. Winning without heavy dependence on threes is a lesson that could prove invaluable in the playoffs.

So, what's the takeaway from this unexpected victory? The importance of a versatile offense. There will be nights when the 3s aren't falling, especially in the pressure cooker of playoff basketball. If the Celtics can remember this game and replicate the efficient paint domination, they might just sidestep the pitfalls that haunted them in previous playoff runs.

In essence, the Celtics' triumph against the 76ers serves as a timely reminder – sometimes, it's not about the flashy shots from downtown; it's about adapting, attacking, and ultimately, winning in the most unexpected ways.

Source: CBS News 

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