The Boston Celtics dropped to 2-3 Friday night, losing 106-100 to the Philadelphia 76ers. The defense was the problem once again, puzzlingly enough. Against a division opponent, the Celtics allowed the Sixers to shoot 49 percent from the field and 54 percent on three-pointers. Rookie Jared Sullinger started at power forward and Brandon Bass came off the bench, the C's still lost the rebounding battle, 38-31.
These are not tenets of the Big Three Celtics and Doc Rivers must find a way to get his new pieces buying into the defense. Rajon Rondo was still spectacular, scoring 14 points and dishing out 20 assists, but he shot just 6-17.
Around the league, the Celtics' historic rival, the Los Angeles Lakers started the season 1-4 (much to the glee of Boston fans everywhere) and promptly canned their coach, Mike Brown, Friday morning. That night, against the Warriors, the Lakers took out all their frustration to the tune of a 101-77 victory with Bernie Bickerstaff serving as the interim.
Kobe Bryant — who, it's important to note, never wanted Mike Brown in L.A. to begin with — exploded for 27 points on 10-18 shooting, 9 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals in 32 minutes. Pau Gasol had 14 points and 16 rebounds while Dwight Howard was surprisingly quiet, with 6 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. The Lakers are now 2-4.
Elsewhere, the NBA's lone remaining unbeaten team stayed that way, as the New York Knicks dropped the Dallas Mavericks 104-94 to move to 4-0. Carmelo Anthony continued his torrid play on both ends with 31 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks, J.R. Smith stayed red-hot with 22 points and 3-3 from long-distance, and Rasheed Wallace played 17 minutes, which is the most important stat line of the night.
Finally, to round up the bad news for Celtics fans, the Brooklyn Nets absolutely trounced the Orlando Magic, going on the road and winning 107-68. That means the other three teams in the Atlantic Division in action last night all won their games (the Raptors were idle). Andray Blatche had 15 points, 9 rebounds and Jerry Stackhouse scored 11 in the Nets victory.
Other scores from around the league:
Milwaukee Bucks 101, Washington Wizards 91
Miami Heat 95, Atlanta Hawks 89
Oklahoma City Thunder 105, Detroit Pistons 94
New Orleans Hornets 107, Charlotte Bobcats 99
Memphis Grizzlies 93, Houston Rockets 85
Minnesota Timberwolves 96, Indiana Pacers 94
Phoenix Suns 107, Cleveland Cavaliers 105
San Antonio Spurs 97, Sacramento Kings 86
Denver Nuggets 104, Utah Jazz 84