‘An aberration’: Slow start, high turnover rate doom Celtics in double-digit loss to 76ers

PHILADELPHIA – The Celtics actually started well. For the first few minutes, at least. Then the pain came.

It kept coming. It stemmed from the turnovers, which came in waves, and from a sea of ugly shots clanging off the rim. It originated mostly from a disappearing offense, which repeatedly put the defense into bad spots. NBA teams don’t allow 28-2 runs very often, but the Celtics did over an eight-minute first-quarter stretch. They scored just one bucket during that time, a Jaylen Brown layup.

Outside of that, the Celtics produced nothing but empty possessions for more than half a quarter of basketball. They had a three-minute drought and a four-minute drought during the first quarter. They set themselves back far enough they never could mount a charge.

“The slow start obviously doomed us there,” coach Ime Udoka said after his team’s 111-99 defeat Friday night.

No kidding. Boston finished the first quarter with eight turnovers, which led to 12 76ers points. After taking a 10-4 advantage, the Celtics essentially stopped scoring altogether. They entered halftime shooting an abominable 30.8 percent from the field with just six assists compared to 11 turnovers.

“I look at it as an aberration,” said Udoka.

To his point, the double-digit loss was just the Celtics’ seventh all season. Only three teams in the Eastern Conference (the Bulls, Bucks and 76ers) have fewer such defeats. Each of those teams has six.


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