THE Boston Celtics will attempt once again to wear down Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid when the Eastern Conference clubs continue their best-of-seven, first-round playoff series with Game 2 on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila) at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.
The third-seeded Celtics prevailed 109-101 in the series opener, getting 32 points from Jayson Tatum and 29 from frontcourt partner Jaylen Brown.
Equally important, the Celtics rotated fresh bodies on Embiid, who scored 11 points in the game’s first 7:08, helping the 76ers take a 17-16 lead, but then just 15 more the rest of the way.
Embiid did not make a field goal over the final 11:36, with his last hoop— a 22-footer on the first possession of the fourth quarter— giving Philadelphia an 81-75 lead.
The Celtics outscored the 76ers 34-20 the rest of the way.
THE undermanned Brooklyn Nets are picking up playoff experience on the fly.
The Nets will be taking lessons learned in their loss to the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of their best-of-seven Eastern Conference first-round series into Game 2 on Wednesday afternoon (Thursday in Manila) near Orlando.
The NBA defending champion Raptors made an early statement in Monday’s series opener by opening a 33-point lead in the second quarter.
The Nets put on a surge of their own to cut their deficit to eight points before the Raptors regained control and cruised to a 134-110 victory.
The third-seeded Denver Nuggets, who outlasted the sixth-seeded Utah Jazz 135-125 in overtime on Monday behind a huge effort from Jamal Murray down the stretch, also go for a 2-0 lead.
Despite having been his team’s leading scorer and rebounder with 26 and 16, respectively, Embiid knew exactly where to place the blame for the Game 1 defeat.
“I’ve got to do more,” he declared after the game. “I got one job to do: to carry us. I’m going to need my teammates to help, but I need to do more. I’ve got to take more shots, I’ve got to be more aggressive, I’ve got to help my teammates.”