The Celtics fans had a lot to cheer about Monday night as Boston took care of business in a big way in Game 1 of its second-round series against the 76ers with a 117-101 win. While there was Terry Rozier's 29 points and seven-for-nine performance from three combined with Jayson Tatum's 28 points Al Horford's 26, the folks at Boston Garden wanted to focus a bit more on Ben Simmons' status as a rookie as the Celtics started to pull away in the second half. When Simmons went to the line late in the third quarter, the Boston faithful began chanting, "not a rookie," in reference to Simmons being on Philadelphia's roster last season after being picked first in the 2016 draft, but not playing all season, thus retaining his rookie status in the eyes of the NBA.
The Boston Celtics flexed their muscles at home to earn a 117-101 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in game one of their NBA Eastern Conference semi-final. Boston, playing without shooting guard Jaylen Brown who was ruled out minutes before the game, had three players step up in his absence on Monday. Terry Rozier stared for the young Celtics – still missing Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward – with 29 points, eight rebounds and six assists.
The Celtics were indeed in tune all game long, cruising to a 117-101 win over the Sixers. Boston now leads the best-of-seven series 1-0 with Game 2 slated for the TD Garden on Thursday. Boston had a trio of 20-plus point scorers, led by Terry Rozier who had 29 points.
The Sixers opened the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday with a 117-101 loss to the Celtics at TD Garden. In the question of would more or less time between series be the advantage, it was the Sixers who started off slow while the Celtics came out fiery. The Sixers had nearly a week without games after eliminating the Heat last Tuesday.
Donovan Mitchell and Ben Simmons have fully embraced the art of the NBA social media beef. The two Rookie of the Year candidates have gone back and forth touting their bonafides for who is the NBA’s best first-year player. Mitchell, meanwhile, points out that Simmons was drafted to play last year when an injury ended his season before it started, and is technically not a rookie.
Boston came in with a plan — “hunt Marco Belinelli and attack him” is clearly at the top of the scouting report — and they executed it, getting good ball movement and open looks. Then they drilled them, Boston hit 7-of-12 from three in the first half. Rozier had 13 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists in the first half, and was making plays like this.
Hassan Whiteside was a liability for the Heat during their playoff loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Miami center who signed a four-year max contract worth $98.6 million in 2016 was relegated mostly to the bench after Joel Embiid returned from injury in Game 3 of the series Philadelphia won, 4-1. Whiteside averaged 5.2 points, six rebounds, 1.2 blocks, 2.4 turnovers and 3.2 fouls in 15.4 minutes per game during the series.