Boston Celtics comeback victory over Philadelphia 76ers is nothing new

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Boston Celtics comeback victory over Philadelphia 76ers is nothing new

Post by bobheckler on Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:52 pm

Boston Celtics comeback victory over Philadelphia 76ers is nothing new

By: Greg Cassoli | 21 hours ago

The Boston Celtics have had a number of notable comeback wins this year. They added one more to their resume against the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Celtics played an uninspired first half of basketball against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday.

Boston struggled to contain J.J. Redick and Ben Simmons, who combined to score 30 of Philadelphia’s 57 points through the game’s first two quarters. The pair missed on just four field goal attempts during that span.

Things weren’t much better on offense, where the Celtics shot 41.2 percent from the field and 23.4 percent from deep.

The Sixers built their lead as high as 22 points midway through the second quarter, but Boston chipped the lead to just 9 by its final buzzer. The Celtics roared out of the gate in the second half, ceasing the lead in the third quarter and pushing the margin as high as 19 late in the fourth.

“We did not play well early,” Brad Stevens said of his team’s performance after the game. “They played great. That’s a bad combination usually, but we stayed the course. We’ve done that all year. We’ve come back before.”

In fact, Boston’s victory over Philadelphia is their second in the three games in which they’ve fallen behind by 20 points or more this year. Lower the criteria a bit, and you’ll find that the Celtics are 6-4 in games they’ve trailed by 15 or more points.

Chris Forsberg
Celtics biggest comebacks this season:

26 vs. Rockets
18 vs. Thunder
18 vs. Hornets
17 vs. Warriors
16 vs. Hawks
13 vs. Mavericks
13 vs. Pacers
12 vs. Mavericks

Boston was 7-5 in games they trailed by 13+ entering today’s game.
2:04 PM - Jan 11, 2018
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That’s a fairly astonishing winning percentage in such situations. Obviously context matters. Pulling off a comeback is far easier, for example, if a team falls behind early rather than late. It’s possible that the Celtics have just been fortunate in the timing of their sloppy play.

Think of it this way though. If Boston started every game down 15 points before tip off for an entire season, how many wins could they reasonably be expected to compile? Their current winning percentage in even less favorable conditions, down 15 with less than a full game to recover, would suggest they finish the year 50-32.

Perhaps the best way to digest that fact is with skepticism. There is a real possibility that the Celtics’ effectiveness in playing from behind is the result of a small sample size, a byproduct of luck and strange timing of runs within individual games.

Boston’s players appear to have opted out of the application of such a critical lens however, and have turned their success into confidence and comfort instead.

“There was no real panic,” Stevens said of the Thursday night comeback against the Sixers. “But we had to play a lot better than we were. I thought our guys looked really good in that third quarter, early part of the fourth.”

Questioning the merit of finding comfort in playing from behind may seem appropriate here, but there is reason to believe that the Celtics’ identity as comeback kids may be overstated by a hair. Having recovered from multiple 20 point deficits makes the comeback storyline more central to the Celtics’ narrative for the year than it actually has been.

Boston has trailed by at least 15 in less than a third of their games, and has fallen behind by 20 on just three occasions. Their effectiveness in such disadvantageous contexts is far more noteworthy than the frequency with which they’ve found themselves in them. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s driving it.

It may be that the Celtics are really good. It may be they’re really lucky. Realistically, they’re probably a bit of both. Boston will take the wins regardless.



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