The Philadelphia 76ers didn't get off to an ideal start on Wednesday night as they visited the Boston Celtics for the first time this year. In the first quarter of action, the Sixers' starting lineup struggled mightily from the field as they drained just 17-percent of their shots overall.
Joel Embiid, who typically leads the charge for the Sixers, went scoreless in his first 10 minutes of action. Meanwhile, Danny Green, Seth Curry, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris drained three combined shots off ten attempts.
It seemed there was a chance the Sixers would let the game get away from them early, but they received a much-needed spark off the bench from the young veteran guard, Shake Milton.
For seven minutes, Milton was perfect on offense. Putting up five shots, with two of them coming from deep, Milton contributed to 12 of Philly's 20 first-quarter points. In a rather forgettable shoot performance in the first 12 minutes, Milton essentially saved the Sixers as they were outscored only one point.
"He was really good," said Sixers head coach Doc Rivers. "We needed a lift." Milton's hot shooting wasn't contagious for any Sixers outside of Seth Curry on Wednesday, but his energy gave the 76ers a big enough spark to put on a stellar defensive performance, which helped them stay in the game.
"[I was] just trying to be aggressive," Milton said after the matchup. "[I wanted to] come in and bring energy. Just coming in and having some bounce and some pop to you. That's just what I tried to do."
While Milton created the spark first on Wednesday, Rivers thought the Sixers' bench, in general, was a significant boost for his team in Boston. "I thought they came in in both halves -- the first half, they came in and got the lead," Rivers explained. "In the second half, they kept the lead. (Andre Drummond)' s energy was great. I thought Shake was great. I thought Matisse (Thybulle) had a hell of a game defensively tonight as well on (Jayson) Tatum overall."
Philly's bench might've helped keep the Sixers competitive on Wednesday, but the starters couldn't close out the matchup with a victory. While it was a close, one-point outing, Boston pulled off the victory in the end. Meanwhile, Milton finished with 16 points on 6-11 shooting from the field.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.