No Gordon Hayward? No problem.
The Boston Celtics torched the Philadelphia 76ers 128-101 in Game 2 of their first-round series of the NBA Playoff at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., taking a 2-0 series advantage in the process.
Tatum finished with a team-high 33 points in addition to five rebounds and five assists for a team-high. Kemba Walker (22 points) Jaylen Brown (20 points, five boards), Marcus Smart (10 points) and Enes Kanter (10 points) all scored double figures.
Joel Embiid led all scorers with 34 points.
Here’s how it all went down:
PG: Kemba Walker
SG: Jaylen Brown
SF: Marcus Smart
PF: Jayson Tatum
C: Daniel Theis
EVERYTHING FALLING FOR PHILLY
The Sixers got behind another spectacular first quarter from Embiid, and seemed to be hitting everything.
The Celtics, on the other hand, did everything but. Boston made just nine of 21 first-quarter attempts from the field, relying heavily on perimeter shooting to avoid Embiid in the low post.
Brown finally started driving to the hoop late in the quarter, and his baskets got Boston going.
Tatum led the Celtics’ scoring effort in the opening quarter with 11 points, including this impressive shot from close to half court on their last possession.
The Celtics late-frame rally helped make up for lost ground, but they trailed 33-27 at the end of the quarter despite the 9-2 run.
THE BENCH STEPS UP
Stevens rolled out a Tatum-Brad Wanamaker-Romeo Langford-Enes Kanter-Grant Williams lineup in the second. Oddly enough, it appeared to gave them a little spark, extending the run to 22-5 through the first 3:19.
Kanter hit a big opening-quarter triple and a few possessions later, Tatum assisted Wanamaker to give Boston their first lead of the game.
76ers coach Brett Brown called a timeout with just over four minutes in the half to settle his team down after Kemba Walked pulled up an epic 19-foot jumper. At that point, Philadelphia was 3-for-15 shooting in the quarter.
The Celtics continued to cook the 76ers with the pick and roll. Tatum (18 points in only 16.5 minutes), Walker (15 points) and Brown (11 points) all hit double digits by halftime, where Boston led 65-57.
Embiid led all scorers with 22 points at the half.
PUT ‘EM AWAY WITH THE PICK AND ROLL
If the 76ers struggled to defend the Celtics on the pick-and-roll in the second quarter, they were gassed by it in the third.
Despite adjustments to avoid that Embiid reaching the 30-point mark in the frame, everything was going right for the Celtics after the break.
Walker badly missed a jumper earlier in the game, but hustled to grab his own offensive board and finish to fix the mistake. Then he went off, netting 22 points through three frames.
Tatum and Brown continued to do Tatum and Brown things, with 25 and 18 points, respectively, by the end of the third. And Smart remained the defensive heart of this team.
Boston led 98-75 entering the final quarter.
PUT IN TACKO FALL
Tatum played well into the fourth despite the large Celtics lead. But eventually, it was time to play the bench players as Boston flirted with a 30-point lead.
And that means Tacko Fall saw his first NBA playoff minutes. The 7-foot-5 rookie even notched three points and a rebound in three minutes on the court.
That was all Boston needed for the win. The C’s beat the Sixers 128-101 and moved to 2-0 in the series.
PLAY OF THE GAME
Defense translates to offense. This is Celtics basketball in a nutshell.
The Celtics and Sixers will meet again Friday for Game 3 of the series. Tip-off is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET.