It has been a great and easy playoff First round for the Boston Celtics. After four games against a talented Philadelphia 76ers team in the First Round of the playoffs, the Celtics have progressed to the next round with a clean sweep, winning all four encounters against a team they struggled very much to beat in the regular season. The Celtics’ 110-106 in Game 4 ensured that they completed their first sweep in 15 postseason games against the Philadelphia 76ers. Even though the 76ers were abysmal in all four games, Boston Celtics’ dominance and superiority proved to be the primary factor behind their flawless victories.
The win over the 76ers has now set up an intriguing and exciting game against defending Champions Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals later this week. The encounter against the Toronto Raptors could prove to be the first big test for the Celtics in the postseason since the Raptors also completed a clean sweep over Brooklyn Nets in four games.
Ahead of the thrilling encounter, we take a look at some of the major talking points from the Celtics’ clean sweep over the 76ers in the first round.
Kemba Walker producing excellent performances on the big stage
In his first playoffs with Boston Celtics, Kemba Walker has been one of the difference-makers in the team. This season, Walker has won more playoff games (4) with the Celtics than he did in his previous eight years as an integral player in the Charlotte Hornets team (3). In all four games against the 76ers, Walker averaged 24.3 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game, and an additional 3.8 assists per game. He also managed to average 1.3 steals per game, 0.8 blocks per game, and just 1.0 turnover per game over 32.8 minutes per game. Despite struggling earlier in the series with his 3-point shot (1 for 10 in Games 1 and 2), Kemba Walker improved in both Games 3 and 4 with 7 for 16 from a distance. In all four games against the 76ers, he shot close to 50 percent from the floor.
In the first game against the 76ers, Walker scored 19 points before scoring 22 points and 24 points in the next two games, respectively. In the last match, he took his game to another level, scoring 32-points. In the first half of the game, Walker scored 20 points, shooting 5-for-7 from the floor and 3-for-5 from the 3-point range. Walker also finished all four games against the 76ers with 49.3% for Field Goal Percentage, 29.6% for 3-Point Field Goal Percentage, and 92.0% for Free Throw Percentage.
If Walker continues his impressive performance from the first round and stays fit, the Celtics would have no problem beating the Raptors and advancing to the next round.
Boston Celtics’ defense looking more reliable than ever
One of the significant factors behind the Celtics’ clean sweep over the 76ers was how good the defense looked throughout the first round. Ahead of the First-round series against the 76ers, there were a lot of questions surrounding the Celtics defense and their ability to cope with the threats Philadelphia 76ers’ talented roster possessed. However, the Celtics’ defense proved all doubters wrong by neutralizing the 76ers’ offense in all four games with the 76ers failing to record their regular-season scoring average of 110.7 points per game in any of the games during the series.
Boston Celtics restricted the 76ers to point totals of 101, 101, 92, and 106 points respectively in all four games. The Celtics’ solid defense also limited Philadelphia 76ers to shooting percentages of 39.6 percent from the field and 26.4 percent from the 3-point range, making them one of the best defensive teams among all 16 playoff teams.
The most impressive part of the Celtics’ defensive display was how they limited 76ers’ star man Joel Embiid, frustrating him in most of the games. The Celtics held Embiid to under 50 percent shooting in all four games, including 8-of-18 shots during the final match. Even though Embiid managed to score some impressive points in the series, the majority of his points came early in the game before the Celtics came up with a game plan to restrict his impact.
With the defense looking better and more durable, it would be difficult for any team to get past the Celtics and eliminate them quickly.
Jayson Tatum continues his excellent form
This season has seen the incredible rise of Power Forward Jayson Tatum, who has been instrumental in the playoffs so far for the Celtics. In all four games against the 76ers in the first round, Tatum has averaged 27.0 points per game, 9.8 rebounds per game, and 2.5 assists per game. He also recorded an average of 2.3 blocks per game. Tatum also recorded 48.7% for Field Goal percentages, 45.2% for 3-Point Field Goal percentages, and 72.0% for Free Throw percentages. In the four games against the 76ers, Tatum scored 32, 33, 15, and 28 points, respectively. He also finished Game 1 and 2 with the highest number of points.
At the moment, Tatum is on fire and could be the driving force behind a potential title win for the Celtics this season.