Some leftover sights, sounds, and observations from the Celtics’ 112-88 romp over the 76ers in Game 7 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series …
▪ Tipoff times shouldn’t affect game conditions, considering everything takes place indoors. But Celtics guard Marcus Smart might beg to differ.
About an hour before Sunday afternoon’s game was set to begin, Smart sat at his locker and looked over at Jaylen Brown, who had just returned from his on-court warm-up.
“JB, you shot?” Smart asked.
“It’s cold out there?” Smart asked.
Brown smiled and nodded again.
“I knew it,” Smart said. “The only thing about an early game is it’s cold. And can’t blame the ice.”
Someone in the room affirmed to Smart that the ice under the court had, indeed, been melted after the Bruins season ended.
“Exactly,” Smart said. “It’s just straight AC.”
If it was a bit chilly out there, the Celtics seemed unaffected. They made 45.5 percent of their 3-point attempts and won by 24 points. The Eastern Conference finals games against the Heat, for what it’s worth, will start at 8:30 p.m.
▪ As Jayson Tatum sat at his locker after crafting his 51-point masterpiece, he summed up TD Garden’s general vibe succinctly and accurately.
“That joint was rocking,” he said. “That was fun.”
▪ Speaking of the atmosphere, Brown’s plea for Game 7 crowd support really seemed to resonate. When a clip of his message, delivered after the Game 6 win, appeared on the video board before tipoff Sunday, the fans erupted before Brown even started speaking. They knew what was coming. Celtics fans may be hard on their team sometimes, but they definitely pay attention.
▪ It didn’t end up mattering, but the final result of the second-quarter incident involving Brown and Sixers wing Georges Niang just didn’t add up.
Midway through the quarter, Brown ended up in front of Philadelphia’s bench after chasing down a loose ball and tipping it to Robert Williams. Niang was sitting on the bench when he reached out and grabbed Brown’s leg to slow him down.
Brown, unsurprisingly, had an issue with this. He stopped to yell at Niang and received a technical foul from referee Scott Foster, who had missed the initial transgression. After review, Niang received a technical foul, too, simply offsetting Brown’s. And the whistle had stopped a Celtics fast break, so the 76ers actually came out ahead.
It could be hard to legislate, and there would always be some gray area, but officials should have the ability to rescind a technical foul in real time.
Brown’s was officially rescinded Monday, at least saving him the $2,000 fine and acknowledging the misstep. But the Celtics would have preferred the free throw that was wiped away.
▪ 76ers center Joel Embiid moved pretty well in this series considering he had a knee sprain that probably should have sidelined him for at least two more weeks. But he did most of his damage defensively in the post, wiping away Celtics attempts at the rim and registering 18 blocks in the series.
But those plays primarily require verticality. Tatum did well, especially in Game 7, drawing Embiid to the perimeter on switches and forcing him to operate in space. It rarely ended well for Embiid. Tatum was 4 for 4 from the 3-point line with the MVP guarding him Sunday.
▪ Is there another pro sports owner who gets the same raucous ovations that Patriots owner Robert Kraft receives when he’s shown on the jumbotron during Celtics games?
▪ Amid all of the strategies, adjustments, play calls, and lineup choices, coaches often point out that success ultimately boils down to one simple truth: Teams need their shots to go in, especially when they are open.
Shotquality.com calculates the expected value of every shot taken during a game, taking into account each player’s situational shot profile and adjusting for game situations such as heavily contested shots. Based on the expected results of the shots taken in Sunday’s game, according to the site, the final score should have been 109-109. Instead, it was a trouncing.
▪ My younger brother Dan’s girlfriend, Isabel, hardly knew what basketball was two years ago. Since then, Dan has turned her into a huge Knicks fan, and she now follows the team more closely than anyone I know.
Moments after the Knicks were eliminated by the Heat in the other conference semifinal Friday night, I received a text message from Isabel, who was in an understandably crummy mood.
“If the Celtics win please cover Adebayo’s illegal screens rarely getting called,” she wrote.
She was referring to Heat center Bam Adebayo. On Saturday morning, the NBA’s Last Two Minute report revealed that Adebayo had gotten away with a pair of offensive fouls, including an illegal screen, in the final two minutes of Miami’s Game 6 win. Isabel has her eye on you, NBA refs.