Posted on January 11, 2018, by Travis Pulver

The NBA taught the NFL a lesson today. If you want people in London to become fans, you must send some bonafide stars over there. You have to schedule good teams that are capable of playing a competitive, entertaining game—which is what NBA fans got in London with the Boston Celtics taking on the Philadelphia 76ers.

While the game certainly featured some serious star-power, the stars didn’t get off to a very good start. Kyrie Irving and Joel Embiid went 1-10 from the floor in the first quarter. But Embiid got a little more help from his teammates then Irving did. Philly led by five, 28-23, after the first quarter. Then things got real ugly for the Celtics.

Via @ZiggoSport

The 76ers started the second quarter on fire and made their first nine shots. They extended their lead out to 22-points with seven minutes left to play in the first half. But Boston controlled the rest of the quarter and narrowed the gap down to nine points, 57-48, at the half.

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While the first half was close and hard fought, the second was more about the Celtics putting on a show. Their defense made life tough for the 76ers on offense while Boston’s offense started putting some points up on the board.

Boston took its first lead of the game when a Daniel Theis dunk made the score 69-68 with six minutes to play in the quarter. By the time the third ended, the Celtics held a six-point advantage, 85-79. The Celtics went on to lead by as many as 19-points in the fourth but ended up winning 114-103.

76er head coach Brett Brown gave credit where he felt it was due after the game (ESPN):

“This team that we just played today is the best defensive team in the NBA, and we felt all of that. When you look at their individual defensive players to a man, they’re as strong positionally as any team in the NBA.”

Kyrie Irving ended the game with 20 points, seven assists, and six rebounds. But it was Jaylen Brown that led the team in scoring with 21 points followed by Irving. Marcus Morris chipped in 19-points off the bench.

J.J. Reddick led the way for the 76ers with 22-points followed by Ben Simmons (16 points) and Joel Embiid (15 points).

The Aftermath

Despite giving up a 22-point lead and losing by 11, Joel Embiid saw enough to convince him they could handle the Celtics in a seven-game series (ESPN):

“If we end up meeting in the playoffs, I feel like we got a pretty good chance. We just need to correct whatever has been careless the whole season, and that’s turnovers and fouling a lot.”

Philadelphia had 19 turnovers and committed 19 personal fouls; Boston, by comparison, had 18 of each.

Embiid could very well get the chance to test his theory. Boston is currently the No. 1 seed in the East. While the 76ers would not be in the playoffs if they started today, they are only one game back.

Boston will have some time off before they play again. Their next game will be back in Boston on Tuesday night against New Orleans. Philadelphia will host Toronto next Monday night.

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