The Boston Celtics needed to bounce back fast, and bounce back they did.
Joe Mazzulla’s team led by double digits for most of Game 2, suffocating the Philadelphia 76ers with their elite defensive effort.
The Sixers offense had absolutely zero flow, up to the point where they finished with just 13 assists compared to 11 turnovers.
According to NBA on ESPN, that’s their lowest assist total from the whole season.
The Sixers finished Game 2 with just 13 assists, their fewest in any game this season 😳 pic.twitter.com/dDoKV6wugq
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) May 4, 2023
To put it into context, the Sixers had James Harden on the floor, who led the league in assists this season.
Even so, Harden was only able to hand out four dimes in the lopsided 34-point loss.
The Sixers shocked the world by taking Game 1 in Boston despite not having NBA MVP Joel Embiid on the court.
Philadelphia couldn’t keep that same energy with its best player back in the lineup on Wednesday, and Embiid clearly isn’t at 100% yet.
Embiid finished the night with 15 points and five blocks, but he was only able to grab three rebounds.
Moreover, he just took nine shots in 26 minutes of action, scoring seven from the free-throw line.
The series will now head back to Philadelphia for the next two games, and the Celtics made a statement to prove why they are the best candidate to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals.
The Sixers have more than enough depth and talent to bounce back from this no-show, but they’ll need to do a better job of moving the basketball to stand a chance against this elite Celtics defensive front.