Sixers add to Celtics' woes, 97-85

Sixers add to Celtics' woes, 97-85
October 11, 2013, 9:30 pm
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NEWARK, Del. — The lineups keep a changing, but the results remain very much the same for the Boston Celtics as they lost yet another preseason game.

This time it was the handywork of the Philadelphia 76ers who disposed of the winless Celtics, 97-85.

Boston fell behind by as many as 17 in the second half before once again managing to make it a relatively close game in the fourth quarter.

Trailing by 16 to start the fourth, once again it was rookie point guard Phil Pressey trying to rally the Green team to victory when defeat seemed an inevitable fate.

He made a pair of free throws with 6:52 to play that cut Philadelphia's lead to 82-74.

Boston continued on the comeback trail after a 3-pointer by Gerald Wallace made it an 84-79 game with 5:39 to play.

From there, the Sixers surged ahead behind a 11-3 run capped off by a breakaway dunk by Thaddeus Young.

It's clear that Boston is still trying to find its way, hoping these preseason bumps will make for smoother sailing when the games start to count.

Sounds good in theory.

But there is no escaping the reality that this season is going to be a rough one by Celtics' standards in part because of their roster, but also because how uncertain roles are now and will continue to be all season as this current group is constituted.

Friday night's loss followed a slow start by the Celtics which has become a disturbing trend.

Flashback to the preseason opener against Toronto which began with a 12-2 run by the Raptors.

And in Wednesday's loss to New York, the Knicks scored nine of the game's first 13 points.

On Friday, Boston found itself down 16-8 in the first quarter before closing out the quarter with a 13-4 run to take the lead, 21-20, after the first quarter.

It was the first time during the preseason that the Celtics finished the first with a lead, albeit as slim a lead as a team could have.

But that small margin didn't last long.

The two went back and fourth in the early moments of the second quarter, but that all changed after Boston's Courtney Lee tied the game at 27 on an 18-foot pull-up jumper.

Philadelphia went on a 9-2 run and went on the finish the quarter with an 18-9 spurt to take a commanding 54-38 lead into the half.

As they had shown in the first two games, Friday's loss had its share of bright moments and positives to build off of for the Celtics.

Jared Sullinger who came off the bench Friday night, was able to get deep into the post frequently and finished with a team-high  19 points and nine rebounds.

Kelly Olynyk who got the start at center, had a decent night as well for the Celtics with 13 points.

Jordan Crawford, who missed Wednesday's game against New York because of a death in the family, was looking to score more and finished with 12 points.

Maybe even more significant, he was the Celtics' lone starter to have a positive plus-minus ratio (+4).

But this loss, much like the previous two, won't be dwelled on for long if at all, by the Celtics.

That's especially true with a rematch against New York on Saturday in Manchester, New Hampshire.

This will be rookie head coach Brad Stevens' first set of back-to-back games ever.

"(Saturday) will be a little different," Stevens conceded.

Hopefully for the sake of Celtics Nation, the same might be said about the outcome.