If the Boston Celtics could have cut the first quarter off Friday’s game, things wouldn’t have looked as bad.
At first everything seemed fine, with Boston enjoying a six-point lead, but the Philadelphia 76ers dominated shortly thereafter and never looked back, responding with a 28-2 run to lead by as many as 22 points in the opening frame.
“Overall the slow start obviously doomed us there,” Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said after the 111-99 loss.
It wasn’t just not executing on either end. Boston was turning the ball over at a high rate — with eight of its 20 turnovers coming in the first. It’s why Jayson Tatum said the Celtics could never really get into a groove.
Tatum and Udoka both agreed after the game that of all Boston’s brutal losses this season, this rare type of blowout felt rare.
“We just weren’t sharp on both ends of court,” Udoka said.
“But I look at it more as an aberration than the norm. We’ve been competitive in most games — even when we don’t score we still defend at the proper level. It’s a little bit off tonight. It happens in the NBA at times but we’ve got to do a better job of getting our guys ready to play a tough opponent, you know, a rival. They were obviously coming out of a loss and played a little harder than we did. It’s on me.”