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The Hospital Celtics Did It Again, This Time Taking Down "The Best Team In The East" With Relative Ease

I think for both the players and the fans, we needed this win. When word came out earlier in the day that both Kemba and Enes Kanter were going to be missing this game, the general public probably thought the Celts were boned. How could an undermanned Celtics team that was 0-3 already against the Sixers beat a team with the "best collection of talent in the East"? But we knew. Those of us who follow this team knew that when you take someone out of the lineup, especially one of their best players, they turn into world beaters. The Hospital Celtics are real and if you tell Brad that he has to beat a good team with one hand tied behind his back then that's exactly what he is going to fucking do. This shit wasn't close at any point, a complete beatdown against those fraud Sixers who are now 9-17 on the road and are looking like a team that is going to enter the All Star break a 6 seed. In a game in which Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and Al Horford all played in this was another great test for the Celts who continue to show up that they have truly turned a corner since their 2-6 skid. They've won 6 of 7, with 6 of them coming against playoff teams. Just how good has the competition been?

When you factor in Sixers fans repeatedly telling you they are really the best team in the East you may as well take that 6 seed and count it as another top 2 seed. Not bad!

This was a win they had to have, and in return they turned in one of their most dominant performances of the season. Let's dive in.

The Good

- When we learned that Jaylen Brown wasn't going to make the All Star team, it wasn't that surprising. Maybe you think he was snubbed, but we knew the Celts were only getting two and Kemba and Tatum are more than deserving. A younger me would have been upset and probably written 5 blogs on that injustice, but now that I'm older it didn't bother me one bit. Why? Because I knew the Jaylen we were going to get was going to be one scary motivated motherfucker. Who cares about being an All Star when you can just make All NBA, and for a guy who had been pretty terrible against the Sixers so far this season coming off back to backs, the man was possessed last night

32/9 on 13-23 shooting and a team best +29 in his 36 minutes. He took that supposed All NBA defender Matisse Thybulle and he tormented him in ways that are illegal in 17 states. Everything was working for Jaylen, his midrange, his finishing at the rim, he was getting to the FT line, all of it was perfect. If this is the version of Jaylen we're going to get for the stretch run, it changes everything. Did you see his handle in this game? Who was that guy!

What this game showed us is basically what we already knew. The Sixers don't have the defenders to hang with these athletic wings. If Thybulle can't do it they are big time screwed. How many times did we see them force a switch onto Horford in space and just blow by him? Ben Simmons couldn't defend for shit either, and we know Tobias Harris and Embiid are not exactly great perimeter defenders. They may have the size advantage, but they are just as vulnerable on the perimeter.

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- You know why? Because the Jays exist. As awesome as Jaylen was, there was his brother Jayson to come in and really rub home the point that the Sixers just can't match up. The Jays treated the Sixers defense in ways that would be rude for me to talk about so just watch for yourself

Tatum wasn't even that efficient and it still didn't matter. He was able to get to the line (10 FTA) which is big time important, and the fact that he is now getting an All Star whistle is INCREDIBLE.  I've waited my whole life for Tatum to finally get that whistle and I can't lie it's even better than I imagined. If he is going to be adding 6-8 points from the line every night, he's going to be a high 20s scorer no problem, even on nights where he isn't all that efficient. I hope all the haters and losers enjoyed the pre-All Star Tatum run because you're all now in big big trouble.

- I say it basically every blog. This team's success comes down to defense and rebounding. Well, the Sixers shot 36/21% with 14 TOs and somehow the Celts kept the rebounding close at 47-42. With basically only 6'9 dudes. That's what heart and hustle will do for you and it's clear that when this team plays with energy the size difference means dick. Score one for Brad on that one.

- I loved their strategy against Embiid. When you're defending him with Daniel Theis and Semi you have to send delayed doubles and that's exactly what the Celts did. Sending guys like Marcus Smart at random times to help throw Embiid's timing off worked like a charm. Without a center they held that man to 1-11 shooting. Don't give me the finger excuse either, he was averaging like 23/12 on 63% shooting since coming back. He got owned and there are no two ways about it.

- There are a lot of reasons to love and trust Marcus Smart and we saw each and every one of them in this game

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The shots he is making right now are a little ridiculous. Sure they may not be sustainable but I am going to just ride this wave and love every minute of it. The ultimate Swiss Army Knife did a little bit of everything once again in this huge win, including troll the shit out of Al Horford which I think we can all appreciate. The love he has for his teammates, the impact he makes night in and night out, he's about as untouchable as untouchable comes in my opinion. 

Oh and he guarded Ben Simmons for over 3 minutes and 12 possessions and gave up a total of 0 points. That feels good.

- This may have been the best game of Brad Wanamaker's life. Not one, but TWO dunks? Not sure where he got that but I fully expect him to get a pink slip from the league asking him to pee in a cup. What a massive night off the bench for a team that never really gets any bench production.

- For a team that's supposed to be good defensively, the Celts shot 47.5% and never had a quarter under 27 points. Not bad considering they couldn't make shit from three (8-30), but only turning it over 10 times helps. 

- Another strong showing from Semi who continues to earn his minutes in a big way. I'm at the point now where I feel like he needs 15-20 minutes every night. He's been consistently solid in his role, but this was by far the most involved we've seen him this season. The defense is always going to be there, but his offensive production is a pleasant surprise and is not something I ever expected would start to come together. There's a reason Brad trusts him and we are seeing it more and more as of late.

- TACKO IS UNSTOPPABLE

Pretty embarrassing Tacko-Lite (Embiid) was so scared to potentially have to face Tacko that he asked Brett Brown to pull him early. What a coward. You may think I'm making that up but you can't prove me wrong. He heard the Tacko chants and pooped his pants. Spot the lie, you can't. 

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- Sixers biggest lead was 2 and there was 1 lead change in this game. That my friends is an ass whooping by every definition.

The Bad

- I can't sit here and tell you they were perfect in this game. I mean we all saw Gordon Hayward's performance. Not exactly what you're looking for with guys out, his 1-11 certainly didn't cut it. He did find other ways to contribute like his 9 rebounds, and it didn't feel like he was taking bad shots, but nothing was dropping. I've said it time and time again you can always tell what type of night Hayward is going to have based on what his early midrange looks like. In this game he couldn't buy it, then next thing you knew he was missing wide open layups and we got this type of offensive performance.

Obviously they need him to look more like he has over the previous 6 games, this was a bad one offensively there's no two ways about it.

- Didn't exactly love Smart and Jaylen both having 4 TOs. They had 80% of the team's turnovers and some of them were just sloppy. 

- The Celts need to figure out a way to stop Ben Simmons. Every time they play they seem to struggle with preventing him from shooting 2 feet from the basket. They seem to have a plan for Embiid so it's time to see one against Simmons. They give him space and he just gets downhill, and that's concerning moving forward. They haven't found a way to take him out of a game in any of the 4 they've played and I don't know if they are saving it for a potential playoff matchup or what but he's had his way with them each game.

- 32-41 from the FT line was annoying, and had they lost this game because of it I would have been very triggered.

The Ugly

- I hate to say this to all the Sixers fans I know are reading this blog, but your team is the 2018-19 Celtics. Take it from someone who watched that disaster. 

Added an All Star level talent in the offseason?

Check.

Everyone talked about all the talent you had and how you were a shoe in for the Finals?

Check.

Massively underachieve during the year and be stuck in the 5/6 seed range?

Check.

Use all the excuses like it's early in the season and this team is built for the playoffs where they'll flip a switch?

Check.

Win this season series 3-1?

Check.

I know you don't want to hear it because you're in denial, but every Celtics fan has seen this movie before. You may not have the locker room drama but your on court production is just as inconsistent and pathetic. 

- Jaylen went 1-10 from three? Good thing I didn't even realize that during the game because that's brutal.

I'll say it in this blog just like I do after many of the Celts big regular season wins. This victory does NOT guarantee ANYTHING in the playoffs. Don't be silly. What this did show us was just another example that this team is working it's way back to the pre 2-6 skid. That's it. They rose to the challenge to beat a team that had their number and are entering the break with all the momentum in the world. All this did was make it easier for me to talk shit on Twitter which I appreciate. Take this win and continue to build, get healthy and let's close this second half strong. Things are back to normal, The Process is the same Process we've always known, and this is where I cue all the Sixers fans who fill the comments of this blog with 3-1 posts as a way to mask their insecurity because deep down they know this Sixers team is flawed. It's OK, just post through it.

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