Here are my key takeaways and Best and Worst awards from the 76ers’ 102-92 loss to the Boston Celtics on Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.
- Joel Embiid needs to spend more time in the low post. At 7-foot-2 and 285 pounds, there’s not a lot of centers – or anyone – who can match his presence. However, Embiid spent a lot of time in the perimeter, where he struggled on this night. The Celtics had to be happy, because he basically took himself out of the game.
- Markelle Fultz’s shoulder has to be definitely bothering him. The Sixers rookie guard won’t even attempt shooting anything close to a three-pointer despite being a 41.3 percent shooter at Washington.
- Maybe it’s time for the Sixers to trade Nik Stauskas. Apparently, the reserve shooting guard, who rode the bench for a second straight game, in not in their plans. So they might as well get something for Stauskas before he becomes a free agent in July.
- The Sixers desperately need to improve their defense. An inability to make stops when needed them cost the Sixers in their second straight game.
- Shot selection continues to doom the Sixers. There was times when a horrid shot by the Sixers bailed out an undermanned Celtics squad.
Best and Worst awards
Best performance: Reserve guard Shane Larkin gets this award on a night when he was the Celtics fifth-leading scorer. That’s because he deadly while shooting the ball. His 10 points came on 4-for-5 shooting. Larkin made both of his three-pointers. Eight of his points came in the decisive fourth quarter. Larkin also had graded out with a game-best plus-16 in his 19 minutes, 26 seconds of action.
Worst performance: Amir Johnson failed to produce any offense in 11:23 of action as the Sixers backup center. He was held scoreless after missing both of his shots on a night when things appeared out of sync for the free-agent acquisition.
Best defensive performance: This goes to Jayson Tatum. The Celtics rookie swingman finished with a game-high three blocked shots..
Worst statistic: How can you not give this to the Celtics making just 68.8 percent of their foul shots? Truth be told, Boston’s horrid free throws the only reason the Sixers stayed in the game as long as they did.
Best statistic: This goes to the combined three-point shooting of Jerryd Bayless and J.J. Redick. They finished 8 for 13 from deep. Redick made 4 of 7 threes, and Bayless went 4 of 6.
Worst of the worst: The Sixers’ fourth-quarter effort. They completely fell apart in the final 12 minutes. They were outscored 33-20 while Boston 64.7 percent shooting in the quarter. Meanwhile, the shot 39.1 percent, missed 5 of 6 three-pointers and committed four turnovers in the fourth quarter.