Philly Sports Live

Sixers in Panic Mode: Celtics Spank the Sixers

While many in TD Garden were busy checking their phones for Masters updates, the 76ers were scoring about as often as CBS’ coverage of the season’s first major goes to commercial.

After a somewhat spry first 12 minutes, in which they trailed by only three points, the Sixers got colder than the chilly Garden in a hurry. Though many shots were open, the Sixers didn’t make them, hitting just two of their first 14 in the second quarter – and one of them was a goaltending call against Boston. That three-point deficit grew faster than Tiger Woods’ score this weekend, getting as high as 28, and the Celtics rode that out to a 103-79 win.

The Celtics upped their lead in the Atlantic Division to three games over the Sixers, who fell to eighth in the Eastern Conference. Though they have the same 29-27 record as New York, the Knicks hold the tiebreaker as they’ve beaten the Sixers in two of three games this season.

After Saturday’s loss to the Orlando Magic, coach Doug Collins said slow start in the first and third quarters was going to make him take a look at who is starting games and perhaps make some changes.

If only it was that easy. The Sixers lost their fourth consecutive game and have won just four of their last 14. The Atlantic Division title, which seemed such a viable possibility for much of the season, probably was thrown in the Boston Harbor after Sunday’s loss.

The Sixers uncharacteristically turned the ball over with alarming regularity early, and got pushed around by the Celtics. Whoever thought Boston was going to give up the Atlantic Division easily, even after a 15-17 record at the All-Star break, was sadly mistaken.

The inconsistency that has plagued the Sixers lately reared its ugly head again. In the loss to Orlando, reserves Thaddeus Young, Lou Williams and Jodie Meeks provided much of the offense, scoring 51 of the team’s 82 points. Against Boston those three combined to shoot 4-for-20.

Rookie Nikola Vucevic, who got his most extensive playing time in a month, had 14 points and 13 rebounds in 29 minutes.

For Boston, Kevin Garnett had 20 points and Rajon Rondo dished 15 assists.