Houston, we don’t have a problem.
I’ll let Kevin walk you through the particulars and the nitty-gritty from last night, but there seemed to be this mild collective panic on Twitter, and I would imagine all the anti-LeBron process goons are hastily reconfiguring their stances. Mitigating factors:
Six days off is a long time, especially against a team playing every other night and fresh off game 7 heroics. The Sixers looked flat, they weren’t getting elevation on their jumpers, their defensive intensity resembled a practice tilt, and they clearly spent more time trying to work through whatever their preparations were while Boston, which had less than two days to prepare, just played. The only thing that worries me is an additional two days before Game 2. That will serve the Celtics much more than it will the Sixers, and quite honestly, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Sixers lost Game 2 as well… before coming home and then rattling off four straight wins to take it in six once they hit their stride and Boston runs out of gas.
Three-point shooting: The Sixers shot 5-26 from three, and the Celtics were 17-35. Yes, not all shots are created equal. Take, for example, this Al Horford three:
But the point remains: Even a small reversion to the mean – with the Sixers shooting their regular season average from three and the Celtics shooting theirs – would’ve ended this game 110-105, Sixers.
Terry Rozier. Unsustainable. He’s a ball of energy, and last night he thrust himself upon a Sixers team that had been playing itself for the last week. Shame on the Sixers for not being ready and appearing almost lazy on defense, but that’s not their identity.
I think people hate Ben Simmons. He gets under opposing players’ skin more than any player I can recall. His body language just exudes go fuck yourself. Is there a little bit of jealousy there? You bet. Did that 60 Minutes Australia piece suck and not tell us anything new? You bet. Is someone going to club Simmons live on the court because they can’t take his demeanor and I’m so much better than you shtick? Probably. If there’s ever a player who’s going to get jumped on the court, it’s Simmons.
'I wonder if my dog gave ME a name when we first met' pic.twitter.com/iLgwzzvsTg
— SB Nation (@SBNation) May 1, 2018
The Markelle Fultz memes are plentiful. This Tweet stung:
Jayson Tatum outscored Markelle Fultz 28 to 0.
— Scott Maxwell (@SilvahHammah) May 1, 2018
For the foreseeable future, I’m going to provide all Markelle Fultz commentary through the lens of my wife, who doesnt’ really watch basketball but occasionally pops in when the game is on. Last night, after I explained to her about the whole Jayson Tatum thing, she calmly said, “Well, what I have seen of Fultz, he just doesn’t look confident. He’s scared. Even I can see it and I don’t watch basketball.” No surprise. The thing with Fultz – who it feels unfair to pick on since he didn’t play – is that he sailed through the draft process as the consensus number one pick and it seems no one… except for Danny Ainge… raised a red flag with regard to his psyche. None of us know him, he rarely talks to the media, and the Sixers will tell you he is a great kid who is trying, but it’s highly uninspiring when you see his peers perform at such a high level with him sitting on the sidelines looking like a little kid. He may turn out to be just fine, or great even, but it’s concerning that he can’t even crack the lineup when his team sorely needs some scoring pop when the shots aren’t falling. He is effectively out of the rotation, which has to be nearly unprecedented for a number one pick who played in college.
Still, we all knew Jayson Tatum was the most NBA-ready player in the draft. While he’s surpassing expectations, this isn’t surprising. Drafting Fultz was more about two years from now. So while it sucks that he’s a total non-factor right now, if he get outs of his own head and remembers how to shoot, he could become an elite third wheel on a perennial championship contender. The draft should not be judged on this season’s results, as hard as it is to sit here and watch as Tatum destroys the world.
He’s a rookie! Neat chant, assholes. Is there anything more predictable than us repurposing it for Ben Simmons in Games 3 and 4?
I really need Robert Kraft away from the Sixers. Here he is with Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck. That’s Michael Rubin a few seats down. Kraft and Rubin are friends, and before the game Kraft was shown hugging Joel Embiid. Despite this, Kraft was visibly cheering for the Celtics. And yet, Rubin, during a CNBC appearance earlier this year, explained that he was rooting for the Patriots in the Super Bowl (despite being from Philly and owning a team here!) because he’s such good friends with Kraft. So how does Kraft return the favor? By cheering against him. Rubin’s courtside game took a hit here. Ban Kraft from The Center.
As I stadium tunnel geek, I found this very cool:
Spotted inside the #Sixers away locker room at Boston’s @tdgarden: my @NovaMBB family’s #Attitude sticker from their tourney games against WVU & Texas Tech last month! Hope it brings our squad some luck in 2nd half against Celtics! @NBCSPhilly #NovaNation pic.twitter.com/yH4UT41h9V
— Keith Jones (@KeithJones) May 1, 2018