The Philadelphia 76ers faced difficulties during their game against the Boston Celtics, but they were able to hold on. Joel Embiid and company defeated their longtime rival by a final score of 106-103, despite a surge in the closing minutes.
Many anticipated that the Sixers’ defense would get better after Nick Nurse was appointed head coach. Their performance on that end of the court has been a key learning point through their first seven games.
After the suspenseful victory, Nurse mentioned the defensive performance of the Sixers. Most importantly, how they made things difficult for Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
Prior to the game, Nurse said he placed a lot of emphasis on this, and the team more than lived up to his expectations.
Nurse is most impressed by this group’s ability to defend without having any exceptionally talented players. They put in a lot of effort and collaborate well. As a result, they were able to slow down the two All-Stars sufficiently to win.
“We did a really good job on Brown and Tatum, and that’s one thing I really like about this team,” Nurse said. “We may not have like one guy that’s a lockdown…we got like five above-average guys with size and athletic ability and aggressiveness. Guys that are out there trying really hard to guard.”
Although Tatum only shot 6-for-14 from the field, he finished the game with a double-double (15 points, 16 rebounds). Going 2-for-6 from beyond the arc is part of that. Brown’s struggles continued, as he managed just 11 points on 4 of 13 shots.
Without a true shutdown player, this group still does a good job defending the perimeter, as Nurse mentioned. Their confidence should soar in the future, given their capacity to contain two such outstanding talents. When it comes to protecting high-level perimeter threats, Nurse has options because he has an abundance of wings with length.