Boston Celtics guard and Pitt product Brad Wanamaker had one of the best games of his NBA career on Saturday, as he came off the bench to score 15 points in his team’s 116-95 win over the Philadelphia 76ers. That total marked a season-high for Wanamaker, who has seen action in 47 games this season but is averaging 6.3 points per outing.
The contest was an eventful one for Wanamaker, as he not only set a season-high in points but also logged the first dunk of his NBA career. That dunk came late in the first quarter at the expense of 76ers star Joel Embiid, who Wanamaker poked the ball away from on defense. The ball ended up in the hands of Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, who set Wanamaker up for a fast break that ended with Embiid getting posterized.
“I was happy for him,” Celtics guard Marcus Smart told Taylor Snow of Celtics.com. “I think the whole team was. It was good to see, first of all, the bucket go down. Not only that, to put it on Joel, who is one of the premier shot blockers and defensive guys in this league, it was big for him.”
Wanamaker would add a second dunk in the fourth quarter after grabbing an errant Ben Simmons pass and racing downcourt for a slam in transition. He would follow that up with a three-pointer on the Celtics’ next possession and cap off his 15-point performance with a made free throw with 1:54 left to play.
The big performance came at an opportune time, as the Celtics entered the game with limited depth and were counting on Wanamaker to mitigate the absence of Celtics starter Kemba Walker, who was sidelined on Saturday with left knee soreness.
“Brad’s been very good all year,” Stevens said, according to Snow. “Obviously 15 points off the bench is something that, with Kemba out at that position especially, we needed badly. He did a good job. When they went on their runs in the first [quarter], he hit some shots to keep us ahead, and then I thought he made some really aggressive plays tonight.”
Wanamaker's 15 points ranked fourth on the team on Saturday, as his total trailed only those of Celtics starters Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Jayson Tatum. He also contributed two steals and three assists to the winning effort while shooting 55.5 percent from the floor.