Celtics-76ers Live: C’s Come Alive In Second Half, Sink Sixers 101-90

Zack Cox Wed, Nov 19, 20146:33pm

6:30 p.m. ET: At some point, probably in the near future, the Philadelphia 76ers will win a game. The Boston Celtics just hope that night is not Wednesday night. 

After three straight losses on their home floor, the Celtics hit the road to visit a Sixers team that has done nothing but lose this season. Philadelphia’s strategy to tank away the season has worked to perfection, and at 0-10, they sit dead last in the NBA.

The Celtics blew out the Sixers last month in two preseason games — winning by 20 each time — but they’ll see a new-look starting lineup Wednesday night that features Massachusetts natives Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams.

Noel has struggled thus far (6.6 points, 5.9 rebounds per game) after effectively redshirting his rookie season. He’s played in eight of the Sixers’ 10 games but started just five. Carter-Williams, meanwhile, has played in just three contests but has been much more productive, averaging 16.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists off the bench. 

Despite Philadelphia’s atrocious start to the season — only three of their losses have come by single digits — Celtics coach Brad Stevens stressed last week that his team has not proven itself enough to be taking any opponent lightly. He reiterated that when speaking with reporters Wednesday night:

Stevens also “gave hints he might shake up” his starting five, according to The Boston Globe’s Gary Washburn given the emergence of Tyler Zeller and Kelly Olynyk’s rough game Monday, but for now, it remains the same. 

Here are your projected starting lineups:

Celtics
Rajon Rondo
Avery Bradley
Jeff Green
Jared Sullinger
Kelly Olynyk 

76ers
Michael Carter-Williams
Hollis Thompson
Luc Mbah a Moute
Nerlens Noel
Henry Sims

Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. Follow along with all the action right here, and follow NESN.com Celtics beat writer Zack Cox on Twitter for instant updates and analysis.

Thumbnail photo via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images

Zack Cox Wed, Nov 19, 20146:40pm

6:40 p.m.: Celtics radio play-by-play man Sean Grande passed along some pretty eye-popping stats about this C’s-Sixers matchup:

It’s also important to note the disparity between these teams’ offenses. Boston’s is among the NBA’s best, checking in at No. 3 in points per game (107.4). That’s nearly 20 points higher than Philadelphia’s 30th-ranked attack, which is producing an average of just 88.5 points per game.

Zack Cox Wed, Nov 19, 20147:12pm

First quarter 11:59, 0-0: Kelly Olynyk wins the opening tip for the Celtics, and we are underway from the Wells Fargo Center. 

For those of you scoring at home, that was the first time this season Olynyk has given the C’s the ball to start a game. 

Zack Cox Wed, Nov 19, 20147:21pm

First quarter 5:43, 76ers 13-10: This has been a very unattractive basketball game so far. The Celtics already have three turnovers and have been outrebounded 8-4 through the first six minutes. 

The C’s now go to their bench, with Tyler Zeller and former 76er Evan Turner checking in.

Zack Cox Wed, Nov 19, 20147:27pm

First quarter 3:13, 76ers 22-14: Philadelphia’s lead has grown to eight as ball control continues to be an issue for Boston. The Celtics gave the ball away on consecutive possessions, including an ill-advised pass by Avery Bradley that was a near carbon copy of the guard’s critical late-game turnover against the Phoenix Suns. Bradley also is struggling in the shooting department, making just one of his first five field goal attempts.

Zack Cox Wed, Nov 19, 20147:35pm

End first quarter, 76ers 27-22: Brandon Bass came on strong in the final few minutes of the first quarter, recording six quick points on 3-of-3 shooting. Other than that, the Celtics didn’t do a whole lot well in the opening frame. The six turnovers look particularly bad, although they resulted in just six Sixers points.

Zack Cox Wed, Nov 19, 20147:41pm

Second quarter 8:55, 76ers 35-30: The Celtics finally were able to put together a bit of a run, scoring six of the last eight points. That was preceded by an identical Sixers run, though, so the deficit remains at five. 

Zack Cox Wed, Nov 19, 20147:50pm

Second quarter 5:50, 76ers 39-37: Brandon Bass and Marcus Thornton are carrying the Celtics’ offense so far, and the C’s turnover bug has infected the Sixers, as well. Bass (10 points) and Thornton (seven) have combined to score nearly half of Boston’s points off the bench. 

Zack Cox Wed, Nov 19, 20147:56pm

Second quarter 2:22, Celtics 43-41: The 76ers reverted to their usual selves over these past few minutes, allowing the Celtics to rip off a 9-0 run and take the lead. One Sixer having a nice night so far, though, is Luc Mbah a Moute, who has a team-high 11 points of 5-of-7 shooting. 

Zack Cox Wed, Nov 19, 20148:06pm

Halftime, 46-46: Nerlens Noel swats away Brandon Bass shot at the buzzer, and the teams head into the locker rooms tied at 46 apiece. 

If you’ve been following along, you know that neither side played particularly well though the first 24 minutes. Each team has turned the ball over 10 times, and the 76ers hold a 27-19 edge in rebounds despite coming into the game with the NBA’s worst rebounds for/against ratio. 

Brandon Bass leads all scorers with 12 points off the bench for the Celtics. 

Zack Cox Wed, Nov 19, 20148:19pm

Third quarter 11:59, 46-46: Second-half action is underway in Philly. Unlike last game, Kelly Olynyk remains on the floor for the Celtics to start the third. He was replaced by Tyler Zeller during the C’s loss Monday to the Phoenix Suns.

Zack Cox Wed, Nov 19, 20148:33pm

Third quarter 5:31, Celtics 61-54: Jared Sullinger came out flying here in the third, plowing through the Sixers’ defense to score five points in just over a minute. The Celtics soon after ripped off a 9-0 run, highlighted by this nifty reverse alley-oop from Rajon Rondo to Jeff Green.

This came after a brief injury scare for Rondo, who rolled his ankle stepping on the foot of Nerlens Noel. 

The point guard came up limping but remained in the game and appears to be OK.

Meanwhile, in Houston:

Zack Cox Wed, Nov 19, 20148:35pm

Third quarter 5:31, Celtics 61-54: Jared Sullinger came out flying here in the third, plowing through the Sixers’ defense to score five points in just over a minute. The Celtics soon after ripped off a 9-0 run, highlighted by this nifty reverse alley-oop from Rajon Rondo to Jeff Green:

This came after a brief injury scare for Rondo, who rolled his ankle stepping on the foot of Nerlens Noel. 

The point guard came up limping but remained in the game and appears to be OK.

Meanwhile, in Houston:

Zack Cox Wed, Nov 19, 20148:48pm

End third quarter, Celtics 73-68: Tony Wroten buries an awkward buzzer-beater from just inside halfcourt, and a quarter that largely was dominated by the Celtics ends with Boston holding just a five-point lead. 

Brandon Bass continues to carry the Celtics’ offense, tallying a game-high 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting while also leading all players in plus-minus (plus-13).

Zack Cox Wed, Nov 19, 20148:57pm

Fourth quarter 8:16, Celtics 84-77: Michael Carter-Williams has turned it on here in the final quarter, scoring seven points in a 70-second span to help keep the Sixers in this game. The hot streak made Carter-Williams (11 points) the fourth Sixers scorer to reach double figures tonight. 

Zack Cox Wed, Nov 19, 20149:11pm

Fourth quarter 1:55, Celtics 99-86: Jared Sullinger has come up huge for the Celtics in the second half. His straightaway 3-pointer gives him 22 points on the night and puts Boston up by 13 with less than two minutes to play. Sullinger also needs just one more rebound to notch a double-double. 

Zack Cox Wed, Nov 19, 20149:16pm

Final, Celtics 101-90: It wasn’t the prettiest victory, but the Celtics were able to pull away late and hand the 76ers their 11th straight loss. 

Brandon Bass had his best game of the season, leading all scorers with 23 points, and Jared Sullinger came on strong in the second half to finish with 22 points and nine rebounds.

Next up for the C’s is a battle against the team with the NBA’s best record, the Memphis Grizzlies, on Friday night. 

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