Celtics exploiting Ben Simmons' biggest weaknesses


I don't think that's the case. Philadelphia's offense seemed to slow, particularly after going through first and second reads on set plays.

But head coach Brad Stevens didn't worry as much. I feel like just playing basketball as it led up to that game was missing.

Philly held a lead of 22 points in the 2nd quarter but a 20-5 run by Boston to close the 1st half made it a 56-51 game at the half.

In perhaps the surprise of the evening, Rookie of the Year favorite Ben Simmons was a virtual non-factor in Game 2, finishing with a measly one point to go with five rebounds and seven assists. And when there was no dead ball over the next seven possessions, Brown called timeout so he could sub Simmons for McConnell and Joel Embiid for Ersan Ilyasova.

The next two games are in Cleveland. The Kia Rookie of the Year favorite had taken just two shots, unable to do any damage against a Celtics defense that had kept him from getting to the basket. This is the league of the best players in the world. But Brown was playing the long game and this was a learning experience for one of his young stars.

"Mental", was Simmons' explanation. The 6-foot-2 - maybe - T.J. McConnell scored twice inside, then went into the forest and snared an offensive rebound that led to a Covington trey and a repossession of the lead by Philly. I'm coming back to Ben. But the Sixers are also confident that they can bounce back in Game 2. And given the Sixers lost Game 2 against the Heat when Hart rang the bell, perhaps they should avoid giving him that honor in one of the upcoming games against Boston.

The Sixers continued to roll early in the second quarter, opening the quarter on a 14-2 run that helped the Sixers lead by as many 21. They deserve props, and Simmons needs to find ways to improve.

"I'm a very confident person every time I step on the floor, so that's not gonna change", Simmons said. "Obviously, it's not the ideal timing".

During the C's 16-4 run in the later portion of the fourth to go up 104-97 with 1:57 left in the game, Tatum threw down this helluva slam-bam that was worthy of a "KIA Cam" in NBA2K 18.

And trust that they won't get so battered in the Rookie War. Marcus Smart finished 19 points and five rebounds as the Celtics improved to 5-0 at TD Garden this postseason.

The Sixers' lead had been as great as 22, and there was no reason to believe the visitors were in anything but firm control when the margin sat at 20 after a pull-up jumper by the suddenly free-flowing J.J. Redick.

When Embiid was out for three weeks with an orbital fracture and concussion, opposing coaches say the Sixers played with a slight increase in pace and were more perimeter oriented, which is to be expected. "We're fortunate to have a bunch of bodies to be able to kind of rotate guys". They only made three of those attempts as they desperately tried to limp into the half with a double-digit advantage, but the Celtics weren't going to let that happen.