Last night, the Sixers traveled north to take on their long- time rival, the Boston Celtics. Both of these teams are currently rebuilding and are towards the bottom of the standings in the Eastern Conference.
However, it did not appear that two teams with a combined win total of fewer than 30 were playing as the atmosphere in the building was electric. It has been a long time since both of these teams were under .500 in the same season, but that did not affect two particular Sixers on this evening.
Head coach Brett Brown is from South Portland, Maine, but spent his college career playing for Boston University. Brown played four years for the Terriers under coach Rick Pitino and was the team’s captain in his final two seasons.
In his college days, Brown played several different games at the old Boston Garden. Brown mentioned that he loved playing there and about all the reminiscences that came along with it.
“You’re just in an old dingy building that just had so much character,” Brown said. “That old building had tremendous memories.”
Since Brown finished his college career, he has been back to Boston as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs. Last night was the first time that Brown made his way back to Boston as a head coach.
“Anytime you’re going back to Boston, it’s a good thing to go back there in the role that I currently have,” said Brown. “You’re proud of being a head coach in the NBA and I am proud of being the head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers.”
Coach Brown has made it known that in his basketball career, Boston has given him plenty of great memories that he still reflects on today. However, he was not the only one returning home on this evening.
Sixers guard Michael Carter-Williams is from Hamilton, Massachusetts and spent many of his early years rooting for the Celtics. Now at 22 years of age, Carter-Williams came back home to his friendly confines to take on his favorite NBA team.
A few years ago while Carter-Williams was at Syracuse, his team played in the TD Garden during the NCAA Tournament. With a high powered Syracuse lineup, MCW did not get any game time but felt what is was like to be on the court in front of a Boston crowd.
“It’s a great atmosphere,” said Carter-Williams. “The crowd was great and they have always supported.”
Emotions were definitely riding high into this game for Carter-Williams who had his own cheering section at the arena which included over a 100 friends and family members. Coach Brown has been very happy with his young point guard and gave him some good advice on his return.
“Have a blast. Be so proud of your accomplishments, go back there and enjoy the experience of where you grew up,” said Brown.
Carter-Williams has been impressive in his rookie campaign so far, but his return back to Boston was a bit of a struggle. He finished the game with 10 points and 7 assists and shot for 4-14 from the field.
Despite the difficult game for him, he and Brown’s return to Boston did not go to waste.
After a huge defensive stop with under 10 seconds remaining, Carter Williams pulled in a defensive rebound and handed the ball to Evan Turner. Turner did the rest as he took the ball to the basket and hit the game winner at the horn.
The Sixers won the game 95-94 which snapped their three game losing streak and handed Boston their 15th loss in January. At the moment, the victory puts them percentage points ahead of the Celtics and out of them basement in the Atlantic division.
The day and night belonged to the head coach and starting point-guard. After Turner’s game winner, this will provide a lasting memory for Brown and Carter-Williams in their Boston return.
Their next meeting in Boston will be in the beginning of April. At this time, each of these teams more than likely will be out of playoff contention, but another return for Brown and Carter-Williams will be much anticipated.
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