Final, Sixers win 111-102: Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics now have lost seven in a row, but this one still felt like a low point.
The Celtics (23-53) gave up a two-point halftime lead to fall to the lowly Philadelphia 76ers (17-59), who own the second-worst record in the NBA. This was the first loss in Boston’s seven-game skid to a non-playoff team and their first loss to a team not currently in the playoff field since March 16 in New Orleans.
Rondo finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and 16 assists in his 29th career triple-double. Jerryd Bayless led the team with 23 points. Brandon Bass notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. But none of them will walk out happy after falling to the Sixers.
Henry Sims and Michael Carter-Williams each dropped 24 points to lead the Sixers, who won for the second time in four games after losing 26 in a row. Their last road win was at TD Garden, when Evan Turner hit a buzzer-beater Jan. 29.
Fourth quarter, 2:50, Sixers 98-90: The Celtics probably aren’t going to win this game, but we should take a moment to note Bass’ effort. Bass has 12 points and 11 rebounds, six offensive, as he continues to just plain work down low.
With the Celtics searching for an offensive option next to Bayless, who has 23 points, and Rondo, who now has 11 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, Bass has given them something. Unfortunately for the Celtics, it’s not nearly enough right now.
Fourth quarter, 6:04, Sixers 89-86: We’re not sure what’s crazier, Rondo getting his 29th career triple-double or Phil Pressey putting in a two-handed dunk.
No, it’s definitely the dunk.
Pressey picked the pocket of MCW and surprised pretty much everybody by raising up for a jam. It wasn’t a rim-rocker, but the bar for dunking excellence is low when you’re 5-foot-11.
Speaking of things that have made the fans get off their seats, the Celtics are on an 11-5 run and have closed within one possession.
Fourth quarter, 8:55, Sixers 84-75: Bodies are flying all over the place. Sullinger hits the deck going for an offensive rebound. Bayless goes down after committing a charge. There’s a lot of hustle being expended without much payoff.
End of third quarter, Sixers 76-71: Not entirely sure what was going on there in the last few minutes of the quarter. Whatever it was, it wasn’t basketball.
The Celtics and Sixers ran into a brick wall scoring-wise in the last three minutes, getting a James Anderson dunk and a Tony Wroten layup for the only baskets. The crowd even started the wave. Ugh.
Third quarter, 6:49, Sixers 62-60: Don’t look away yet. Rondo might be turning it on.
Rondo, who had two points at the break, has seven of Boston’s first nine points here in the third quarter. He spun home a double-pump layup to give the Celtics a rare basket in the paint.
The Celtics are probably most thankful Evan Turner isn’t in the building tonight. Turner scored a buzzer-beating game-winner the last time the Sixers were here, but he’s since been traded to Indiana.
Halftime, Celtics 51-49: Thanks to some fairly equal weaknesses, the Celtics and Sixers are locked in a tight contest at the half.
Brandon Bass barreled down the lane for a one-on-two layup that would have given Boston a two-possession lead, but his contested shot missed off the backboard. Still, this was not the worst ending to the first half for the Celtics, considering how it started.
Boston outscored Philly 34-26 in the second quarter as Jerryd Bayless found his stroke. He is now 6-for-12 from the field for a game-high 18 points. The Celtics are getting to the foul line, where they are 12-for-14, and are dominating on the glass 29-17. They also limited their turnovers to just four in the second quarter after committing seven in the opening quarter.
So, there is progress.
Michael Carter-Williams leads the Sixers with 14 points, but no one else on his team has more than eight points or five rebounds. Rajon Rondo, despite committing four turnovers and passing up a couple of makeable layups, has eight assists and eight rebounds.
Second quarter, 3:15, Celtics 40-38: There’s sort of a strange phenomenon going on, where the Sixers are scoring more in the paint but aren’t rebounding at all. The Sixers are plus-12 on points in the paint but the Celtics have doubled them up on the glass, 26-13, and 10-5 on the offensive boards.
Nobody not named Bayless is doing much scoring for the Celtics. Bayless has 15 points on 5-for-11 shooting. No other Boston player has more than seven points, or has taken more than four shots.
Second quarter, 5:50, game tied 33-33: The weird thing is that as poorly as both teams are playing, the Celtics’ second unit is actually giving them some decent minutes.
They’re not quite “good” minutes, but a bench-heavy group of Phil Pressey, Brandon Bass, Bayless, Olynyk and Johnson have battled back to tie the game. A lot of it is coming on the Celtics simply chasing down their own misses.
They have nine offensive rebounds, three courtesy of Bass, who drills the game-tying jumper off a kick-out by Olynyk.
Second quarter, 8:50, Sixers 27-23: Kelly Olynyk is feeling pretty frisky tonight, apparently, because he just pulled off a weird fake-pass driving move that we’re most accustomed to seeing out of Rondo.
Other than Olynyk showing off his dipsy-dooing, there still isn’t much else to report. Chris Johnson has injected some life — as usual — and has four free throws to help the Celtics get back within two possessions.
End of first quarter, Sixers 23-17: The first quarter comes to an end with Brandon Davies falling over as he tries to chase down a Celtics turnover. There couldn’t be a more fitting way for the first 12 minutes to end.
These teams are shooting 15-for-40 overall, but their poor shooting isn’t for lack of trying. Hollis Thompson is a healthy 1-for-5, while Jerryd Bayless is 2-for-6. The Celtics have seven turnovers. At this rate, they’ll have 35 by the end of the game.
First quarter, 5:51, Sixers 11-5: Well, then. The first few minutes of this game have been, er, interesting.
It took close to five minutes for the Celtics to score at all, falling behind 6-0 while the teams combined to shoot 1-for-14 from the field with two airballed layups. Jared Sullinger finally broke the ice with a layup on an over-the-top pass from Rajon Rondo into the post, but things haven’t gotten any prettier.
We’re now 6-for-22 combined here at the Garden. Cripes.
5:54 p.m.: Avery Bradley’s right foot trouble just won’t go away, costing the guard another game.
Bradley will miss his second straight game with a strained right Achilles, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. The Achilles is in the same foot that has troubled Bradley all season, with a series of ankle issues limiting him to 55 of the team’s 75 games.
Bradley will also miss Saturday’s game in Detroit, Stevens said. Jerryd Bayless will start in his place.
“The expectation is, he will be day-to-day starting Monday,” Stevens said. “We’re hopeful that he plays Wednesday in Atlanta.”
Everett, Mass., native Nerlens Noel, who has not suited up for the Sixers at all this season, also will not play. There had been some naive anticipation that Noel might play for the first time in his home state, but Sixers coach Brett Brown nipped that in the bud Friday morning.
The projected starters appear below.
8 a.m. ET: Sorry, NBA rules indeed require that this game be played.
There hasn’t been much for either of these teams to feel positive about this season. The Boston Celtics (23-52) and Philadelphia 76ers (16-59) are in contention for high draft picks, with the Sixers’ recent 26-game losing streak greatly increasing their chances at the No. 1 overall draft pick. There are 15 teams in the league with as many wins as Boston and Philly have combine.
Yet if their has been a bright spot for either side, it was been their point guards. You already know Rajon Rondo, a four-time All-Star who is creeping toward his fourth straight season averaging double-digit assists. Across the way, Michael Carter-Williams has made a case for himself as NBA Rookie of the Year, averaging 16.6 points, 6.2 assists and 6.1 rebounds per game. He’s also notched two triple-doubles already in his young career.
Join us for updates and analysis from TD Garden during the game, which tips off at 7:30 p.m.