By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — After enduring a brutally exhausting and disappointing season last year, Celtics fans had to have been giddy to get the 2019-20 season underway. Some massive changes to the roster and an infusion of positivity had most people excited to see if Brad Stevens’ team could rediscover its identity as a hard-working, overachieving bunch.READ MORE: 'An Influx Of People': Stores In Boston's Seaport Experiencing Boon In Holiday Sales
Those positive vibes were flowing right through Wednesday night. And then the season began.
And it was bad.
The final score showed that the 76ers won 107-93, and just looking at the scoreboard, it might seem as though a regular NBA game was played. But this game was not normal. Not in the least.
Describing this game in a succinct manner would be difficult. “Sloppy” would be a good place to start. “Choppy” would be a word that works, too, and it rhymes with sloppy, so we’re definitely including that one. “Ugly” should probably enter the mix, as should “very bad.”
So, with all due respect to Alexander, the Celtics and Sixers played a Sloppy, Choppy, Ugly, Very Bad Game.
Some facts and figures on which you can chew:
–The Celtics shot 36.7 percent from the field. They went 7-for-26 (26.9%) from 3-point range. The Sixers had 48 missed shots of their own, leading to a whole of rebounding opportunities throughout the evening. If one were so inclined to write a tabloid headline for this one, “Clanks For Playing” would work nicely.
–The Celtics committed 29 fouls. The Sixers committed 34 fouls. That’s 63 combined fouls, or 1.3 fouls called for every minute on the game clock. That means if you caught a full minute of uninterrupted action in this game, you were a very lucky viewer.
–The Celtics missed 14 free throws. They went 20-for-34 at the line, with Enes Kanter going 2-for-7. The Sixers weren’t tremendously better, going 26-for-36 from the line. Ben Simmons went 2-for-5, and Joel Embiid went 4-for-8.
–The Sixers committed 15 turnovers. The Celtics committed 10.
–Kemba Walker. Woof. The three-time All-Star was likely trying to do a little too much in his Celtics debut, as he went 4-for-18 from the field and 1-for-6 from 3-point range. Shooting under 25 percent from the field isn’t necessarily unprecedented for Walker (he did it five times last year), but that was not exactly the debut he or the Celtics envisioned.
–-James Ennis committed three turnovers and five fouls in just 17 minutes on the floor. He also went 0-for-3 from the field. He did pull down six rebounds, but the Sixers were outscored by 12 points when he was on the floor.READ MORE: Stamkos Scores In OT To Lead Lightning Past Bruins 3-2
–Kyrie Irving gave the least genuine speech of all time, then dropped 50 points, but also missed the potential buzzer-beater and lost the game.
"Oh man, I'm sorry it's just hitting me right now."
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) October 23, 2019
“Aw man, I’m sorry, it’s just hitting me right now.”
That’s not Celtics related, per se. But still. Gross.
–The opening minute of the second half took close to 10 minutes to complete. The Celtics committed two quick fouls, with Embiid going to the line for two shots on the Sixers’ first possession. Embiid then stuffed Jaylen Brown (who had five fouls and eight points), leading to a quick two for Philly. OK. All right. All well and good.
But then Embiid’s massive foot tripped Kemba Walker. The refs called a foul for the obvious infraction. But Brett Brown, still likely steamed about a perceived Marcus Smart flop in the first half, decided to use his coach’s challenge. Why he felt compelled to do this in the opening minute of the third quarter on a very obvious foul is anybody’s guess. Nevertheless, he issued the challenge, and the game went into a delay for several minutes. (Big surprise: He lost.)
The game finally resumed, and Brown was quickly whistled for an offensive foul, and the slog of a game continued onward.
–Ben Simmons said this after the win: “I’m skilled, I’m gifted, I’m pretty good at what I do.” He had a great night, but (perhaps I’m editorializing a bit here) saying anything like that after a game of this quality should be illegal.
–The following line made the AP recap: “Boston twice missed consecutive free throws in the second half, giving delirious 76ers fans a free dessert and fries at a food fast chain.” That’s not how you want to be remembered as a team.
–Celtics starters shot 28-for-69 (40.6%) from the field. The Celtics’ bench shot … 5-for-21 (23.8%) from the field. That’s an extreme yikes situation if there ever was one.
Technically, the game only took three hours to complete, but it felt like three days.
Fortunately for all involved parties, it’s over. The Celtics get back to work on Friday night, at home against the defending-champion Raptors, who will be well-rested after an OT win over the Pelicans on Tuesday night.
Celtics fans — and, no doubt, the basketball world at large — has to be hoping for a better showing from the team in green. Because whatever it was that took place on Wednesday night? That was rough stuff.
Some days are like that.MORE NEWS: 6 Adults, 6 Children Forced Out Following Fire At Dorchester Triple-Decker