Boston, Massachusetts - The Boston Celtics notched their most important win of the season without their most important player in what ended up being a close thriller with the Philadelphia 76ers, a divisional rival, with a lot of impressive play from some of Boston's most troubled core.
The 76ers definitely improved their roster at the trade deadline by adding Tobias Harris into the mix and the Celtics, despite major roster troubles and chemistry unrest, stood mostly pat at the deadline, so to me, it seemed like Philadelphia, by sheer force of effort and chemistry would be able to easily put away the Celtics last night, especially on the heels of clubhouse unrest and a knee injury for Kyrie Irving, which kept him sidelined for the entire game. However, the Celtics played their hearts out and topped the 76ers by a score of 112-109. It was yet another example of the Celtics playing up to more challenging opponents and playing down to the level of some of their weaker competition in the NBA.
I'm hesitant to call this a turning point for the Celtics, but it was unquestionably an incredibly important win for the team, which was desperately needed at this point in the season. Especially since many pundits were quick to call it a lost cause over the past couple days. Perhaps this game is just a flash in the pan. Perhaps head coach Brad Stevens made worthwhile changes. Perhaps it'll just be more of the same for the frustrating Celtics. But for now, we should enjoy the fact that they downed the 76ers on the heels of a team-leading twenty-six points from Gordon Hayward, of all people, and a spin move-turned slam dunk from Jayson Tatum that sent the Celtics bench into hysteric enthusiasm, a good showcase for the element of clubhouse chemistry going forward.
The win over Philadelphia was a big one and the Celtics will next be in action tonight against the Detroit Pistons. However, they will be without Kyrie for the game as he's expected to miss more time with his injury.