3 thoughts from Boston's Game 1 victory over Ben Simmons' 76ers

A historical look at Sixers Celtics rivalry

The Boston Celtics didn't wait to fire the first shot in their renewed rivalry with the burgeoning Philadelphia 76ers, comprehensively taking Game 1 of the second round series with a 117-101 win.

Led by impressive performances Terry Rozier, Al Horford and Aron Baynes, the Celtics thoroughly outplayed the Sixers and comfortably secured victory.

Boston, who advanced to the semi-finals after a grueling seven-game series win over Milwaukee, have regrouped superbly after a slew of injuries, which means they are without stars Kyrie Irving, Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward.

But the Celtics lineup look to be a vastly more challenging proposition for the Sixers, who saw Joel Embiid score 31 points while pulling down 13 rebounds.

The Sixers shot just 5-for-26 from long range, half of what they usually make on a given night.

The Celtics' second-leading scorer in the first round with 17.9 points per game, Brown was finally ruled out about a half-hour before tipoff following a conversation with doctors, trainers and Horford. The crowd in Boston.

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"I give the Celtics credit for getting to our shooters", Brown said.

"[The crowd] was okay", Embiid said. "But certainly since he's been in this starting role, he's been excellent, and we're going to need him to continue to be".

"They have a chance to be relevant, not only in the Eastern Conference, but for championships and I think LeBron, as phenomenal as the guy is..." "It didn't bother me, you know". A six-day break can be used to somewhat explain this, but it's not like Philadelphia got jumped and were forced to play catchup.

"Nobody did see this coming but us", said Smart, focusing on an us-against-the-world mentality.

Obviously, it would be ridiculous to assume this series is over since this was only one game, and the argument can be made that having all of that additional time off ended up backfiring since Philadelphia looked a bit rusty. "I personally grew up with this rivalry, just right on your doorstep and just a big part of your basketball life as a young kid".

But maybe equally as important, they found success in attempting to slow down Ben Simmons. The Sixers are at their best when they are playing fast and shooting early and often. And while the Celtics are beat up at the moment, a home playoff game in Boston is another beast entirely.

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