PHILADELPHIA, PA – It was an evening marked by experimentation, but the 76ers’ pre-season pairing with the Boston Celtics Friday at The Center ended in defeat, 110-102.
Whereas Ben Simmons was used almost exclusively as a point guard on offense in Wednesday’s exhibition opener, the 2016 No. 1 pick was handed a more versatile assignment in Friday’s game. The plan was one that Brett Brown alluded to prior to tip-off.
While Simmons opened Friday’s contest at the point offensively, he was given multiple opportunities to move down to the forward spot and play off the ball as well. Defensively, the 21-year old Australian was used at all positions but center, taking cracks at covering All-Stars Gordon Hayward (forward) and Kyrie Irving (point guard). He also tried his hand at guarding Jaylen Brown (guard-forward) and Jayson Tatum (forward) – the last two No. 3 picks in the draft, respectively.
For the night, Simmons finished with 8 points (3-8 fg), 3 rebounds 5 assists, and 3 steals in nearly 23 minutes of action.
In a chippy, sometimes choppy, affair, the Sixers got solid contributions from the starting veteran trio of Jerryd Bayless, Amir Johnson, and JJ Redick. Bayless paced the club with 15 points. Johnson and Redick, meanwhile, each supplied 12 points.
On the heels of a promising pre-season debut Wednesday, Jahlil Okafor turned in another sound showing Friday, highlighted by 11 points and 6 boards. Justin Anderson made an impact on both ends of the floor, with 10 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 blocks.
The Sixers kept pace with Boston throughout Friday’s opening half, trailing by one point after the first quarter, then by two at the break. The C’s opened things up in the third period, when they manufactured 32 points.
Boston was led by off-season acquisition Kyrie Irving, who netted a game-best 21 points.
A gif-worthy chasedown block in the fourth quarter it was served up by Justin Anderson in the fourth quarter. No apologies to Boston’s Abdul Nader…
The Sixers and C’s will do it again, this time Monday in Boston at TD Garden. The match-up will be the second and final one of the preseason between the Atlantic Division foes, which will square off again on four occasions during the regular season, including the Sixers’ October 20th home opener.