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The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Boston Celtics, 108-99, on Tuesday night at The Center

December 16, 2020

The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Boston Celtics, 108-99, on Tuesday night at The Center in each team’s first preseason game.

Philadelphia ran out a starting five of DANNY GREEN, TOBIAS HARRIS, JOEL EMBIID, SETH CURRY and BEN SIMMONS. Green was acquired in a trade with Oklahoma City on Dec. 8, while Curry joined the 76ers in a trade with Dallas on Nov. 19.

Three of the team’s five starters scored in double figures, as Embiid (18 points), Harris (16), and Simmons (10) combined for 44 of the team’s 108 points on the night. Embiid manufactured his 18 in 16:48 of the first-half action. Last season, Harris led the team with 67 games in double figures, while Simmons had 49 and Embiid had 47 (Stathead).

The trio was joined by a fourth double-figure scorer as SHAKE MILTON poured in a game-high 19 points off the bench. In the third quarter alone, Milton notched 15 points (6-9 FG, 3-5 3FG). Fifteen points would match his single-quarter career-high for a regular-season game; a mark he reached in the second quarter against the L.A. Clippers on March 1. Milton scored a career-best 39 points in that same game.

Simmons, who finished sixth in the NBA last season with an average of 8.0 assists per game, handed out a game-high six helpers tonight. No other player from either team posted more than three assists. The team was led in rebounding by Harris, who pulled down nine boards.

The No. 21 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, TYRESE MAXEY, made his 76ers debut tonight, playing all 12 fourth-quarter minutes and scoring eight points on 4-6 shooting. The former Kentucky Wildcat added three assists to his stat line, tied with Milton for the most among 76ers reserves.

Boston was led in scoring by first-year Celtic JEFF TEAGUE, who tallied 18 points (7-9 FG). Rookie PAYTON PRITCHARD added 16 points (6-10 FG) and four rebounds in 21:35 off the bench, while JAYLEN BROWN paced Boston with eight boards of his own.



On his impressions of offense…

I thought we established our pace overall. I thought in the first quarter at times I had to get them to — I think Ben [Simmons] one time was walking the ball up the court and I jumped up and — just the pace alone puts pressure on the other teams. And what I’m trying to get our guys to understand — with our size, we have size and pace that creates force, and that makes us tough to guard in the open floor. Watching the game, I was very happy with our open-floor game. I wasn’t thrilled with our execution, but [it’s] the first game, you can’t expect everything.

On Joel Embiid…

Phenomenal. It’s a great example for Joel. We ran our stuff, but we didn’t run his stuff and he still had 18 [points]. And that’s one of the things that I was telling him. We can run continuity offense and not even run any plays for you, but you’re still going to end up with the ball because you’re the best player. And you’ll see that happen. And that did happen tonight. I thought that was a great thing for Joel to see.

On Shake Milton…

He was great. And that’s what we need from him. We need him to be Shake every night. I tell him literally every day to be Shake. Be Shake. I probably have said that 15 times already. And I thought tonight he did that. He was very comfortable, under control, didn’t force a lot of shots. He was fantastic.


On how much his experience last season has benefitted him this season… 

I think the more reps you have, and the more you get to play, the more comfortable you get. You start figuring out what works, what doesn’t work, what angles you can take… the more experience you get, the easier it is.

On his relationship with Doc Rivers… 

I feel like it’s easy – it feels good to play for a coach like that. He gives you freedom, he’s going to challenge you, he’s going to make you work. But at the end of the day, there’s always good coming of it and he’s always trying to teach you something. There’s always a lesson behind it. For me, it’s just head down and keep working and do whatever he says.

On players like Lou Williams and Jamal Crawford thriving as sixth men under Doc Rivers… 

First of all, I just – I want to win. Whether that be me coming off the bench or me starting, it doesn’t really matter. I just like to play a part in winning. Coming off the bench definitely has its perks. Obviously, everyone wants to start and stuff like that, but coming off the bench can definitely be a good thing.  


On the floater being part of his game and when he started incorporating it… 

 I think my junior or senior year in high school, just because I realized I was only going to be 6-3. I was playing pretty athletic, like, I could go in and jump over a couple of defenders sometimes, but to preserve your body, that midrange is a key lost art in the NBA. Especially as a guard coming off the ball screens, bigs are in a drop for the most part, so as long as you can pull up – midrange, pull-up, floater, runners – so long as you have that package, you’re going to get those shots. So you’ve got to be able to make those shots as a small guard like me.

On Ben Simmons complimenting him… 

I appreciate him because I know he works hard himself and it’s good to have a big brother like him. A guy in your corner who, like you said, [is] an All-Star in this league and someone who can help me and mentor me. And just help me get my game to where I want it to be.

On playing without a crowd in the stands… 

I know when I was on the bench cheering for my teammates it felt great. It felt like we were the crowd. The sounds of the arena – it’s weird – so, I don’t know what it’s like to play an NBA game with fans, so today it felt normal. It didn’t feel weird or awkward because there were no fans. I feel like the bench was really engaged, standing up, cheering on whoever was in the game – whether it was me in the game or me on the bench. I think it was cool.

Source of Philadelphia 76ers



CELTICS at 76ERS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | December 15, 2020