Whether or not the Boston Celtics caught a rusty Philadelphia 76ers squad off-guard in Game 1 is largely meaningless as the two sides square off tonight in Game 2.
Boston leads the series 1-0 after landing a solid punch Monday night. However, with two days off in between, there is a lot of time for Brad Stevens and Brett Brown to work their strategic magic.
Following Game 1, Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia joined Adam Kaufman for an episode of Celtics Beat on the CLNS Media Network. The former Celtics reporter, who now covers the Sixers called Game 1 a perfect storm of sorts.
“It was two extremes. It was the Celtics playing at such a high level and then the Sixers looked rusty after having such a long layoff from their last game against the Miami Heat,” said Camerato. “And what happened with the Sixers was uncharacteristic of what has got them to this point. When I look at this game I see 5-26 from three-point range. But moreso only 17 points combined from their bench. Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova have been such a key part of why they’ve been able to play so well.”
Camerato fully expects Philly head coach Brett Brown to make some Game 2 adjustments.
“One thing Brett Brown has said is they have to find ways to score. The Sixers need to get more guys going in this game,” Camerato told Celtics Beat. “JJ Redick still got 20 points, but he shot 2 of 7 from three. They need more consistency from guys like him, and [Marco] Belinelli, and [Ersan] Ilyasova.”
Like Stevens, Brown is highly thought of in coaching circles. The two have a similar acumen for decision-making and adjusting on the fly. In Round 1, the Sixers left Philadelphia tied 1-1 heading to Miami for Game 3. They didn’t lose another game until Monday’s throttling in Boston.
“They made a lot of adjustments in the first round when they put Ersan Ilyasova, started him at center. They put Justin Anderson kind of out of nowhere on Dwayne Wade. He hadn’t played in a while,” detailed Camerato. “Brett Brown has always maintained that rotations are fluid, lineups are fluid.”
Philadelphia is certainly top-heavy with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, but the Sixers roster is spotted with quality role players. It’s Brown’s job to locate those individuals and put them in position to succeed.
“They didn’t go as deep into their bench as they have been doing, so we’ll see if there’s any adjustments there. But the Sixers need to get back to playing Sixers’ basketball,” said the Sixers Insider. “It looked like the Celtics were playing their style of basketball. And any time you have to start playing catch-up to an opponent that’s not going to work well in your favor.”