Boston Celtics

Celtics-76ers takeaways: Embiid outplays the Jays as C's lose second straight

Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 27 points in Wednesday's defeat.

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Three Key Storylines

  • Rough night for the Jays
  • C's struggles from 3 continue
  • Derrick White returns

The Boston Celtics dropped their second consecutive game on Wednesday night as they couldn't keep pace with the streaking Philadelphia 76ers.

Boston snapped out of a sluggish start with a 13-2 run to take a five-point lead into the second frame. From there, Philly took control. The Sixers answered with a 22-5 run in what marked the Celtics' worst defensive quarter of the season (39 points allowed).

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The C's trailed for the remainder of the game as their usually stellar offense couldn't find its groove in the second half. They made things interesting with a late 10-0 run that cut the Sixers' double-digit lead to three, but they failed to finish the job, resulting in a 106-103 defeat. With its sixth consecutive victory, Philadelphia leapfrogged Boston for the top spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

Kristaps Porzingis (29 points) and Derrick White (19 points) were bright spots for the Celtics. Joel Embiid (27 points) and Tyrese Maxey (25 points) led the way for Philly.

The Celtics will return to TD Garden on Friday night and host the Brooklyn Nets for their first matchup of the NBA In-Season Tournament. Before we look ahead, here are three quick takeaways from Wednesday's game.

Not the Jays' night

Monday in Minnesota, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown carried the Celtics offensively. The script was flipped Wednesday in Philly.

This was a night to forget for the Jays, who combined for 27 points and didn't cross the 20 mark until late in the fourth quarter. Tatum made an impact in other ways, tallying 15 rebounds, six assists, and three steals to go with his 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Not a dreadful performance by any stretch, but the C's could have used more offense from their superstar.

It was a bad night all around for Brown. The two-time All-Star, who agreed to a $300 million supermax extension over the offseason, shot 4-for-13 from the floor (2-7 3-PT) to finish with just 11 points. He also turned the ball over four times.

Porzingis, White, and Sam Hauser (13 points, 5-8 FG) did their part. But even with a strong supporting cast, 27 combined points out of their star tandem just won't cut it.

C's slumping beyond the arc

The Celtics offense has shown its all-time great potential at points this season. But over the last two games, we've seen what happens when the stars go ice-cold from 3-point range.

Boston shot just 11-for-39 (28.2 percent) from deep in Monday night's loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and those struggles carried into Wednesday's game at Wells Fargo Center. The shots weren't falling in the first quarter (2-10 3-PT) and that set the tone for the rest of the night as the C's finished just 15-for-47 (31.9 percent) from 3.

If the Celtics had just slightly more success from 3 -- or perhaps had less dependence on the 3 ball -- this game would have had a much different result. The 76ers were just as poor from beyond the arc, converting only nine of their 34 attempts.

Boston will look to snap out of its 3-point funk when it returns to TD Garden on Friday night.

Joe Mazzulla and Gary Washburn get into a back-and-forth about whether or not the Celtics are relying too much on the three-pointer during the head coach's postgame press conference following the team's 106-103 loss to the 76ers.

Derrick White returns

White returned to the lineup after missing the last two games due to the birth of his second child. His absence highlighted just how much he meant to the C's, and on Wednesday night, he picked up where he left off.

He led all Celtics players in points (seven), rebounds (four), and assists (three) in the first quarter.

It was a hot and cold night for the 2022-23 All-Defensive selection. After his strong opening frame, White finished 6-of-18 from the field and played a role in the team's 3-point woes (3-for-11). He still managed to finish with the second-most points on the team (19) behind Porzingis. In addition, he made his presence felt on the defensive end with two steals and a block.

Now that the rust has been shaken off, White will look to be a key contributor for the C's during the In-Season Tournament, which begins for Boston on Friday.

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