The Boston Celtics love the long ball. They attempt more 3-pointers than any team in the NBA and a whopping 40.1% of their points come from triples. Yet, what do they do when their shots from deep aren't connecting?

On Tuesday night against the Philadelphia 76ers, Boston couldn't get it going from beyond the arc, but still pulled out a 117-99 win. The C's put up 22 3-pointers during the double-digit victory, which is their lowest amount of attempts since Joe Mazzulla took over as head coach last season, via Celtics WEEI reporter Justin Turpin. Boston converted on just five of those shots, yet dominated down low, outscoring Philadelphia 60-42 in the paint.

Following the unconventional win, Mazzulla praised his squad's flexibility, per CelticsBlog reporter Jack Simone.

“This game was really one of our best games of the year,” he said. “We were able to win in a different way.”

Celtics flex muscle, flexibility in win over 76ers

Jaylen Brown and kristaps Porzingis in celtics jerseys looking tough on a Boston city skyline background

A typical game script for the 2023-24 Celtics includes winning the 3-point battle and limiting turnovers. During Boston's prior game on Saturday night, the team hit more triples than the New York Knicks and committed six fewer turnovers.

The Eastern Conference showdown with the Sixers was the exact opposite. Philly connected on nine more 3-pointers and had five fewer turnovers than Boston. Despite those differences, the Celtics managed to stay aggressive and get to the line more than usual. Boston averages 21.7 free-throw attempts per game, yet took 37 shots from the charity stripe on Tuesday.

The Celtics' adaptability is another reason why they're a league-best 46-12 overall and in first place in the Eastern Conference. Although a win against an undermanned Sixers team with no Joel Embiid doesn't seem particularly noteworthy, these are the kinds of games Mazzulla loves.

For example, prior to a late December contest against the Detroit Pistons—who were mired in the worst losing streak in NBA history—Mazzulla said the Celtics had a tough task ahead of them. The Pistons proceeded to go up 21 and nearly snapped their losing streak before Boston roared back and won 128-122 in overtime. That gritty win, just like Tuesday's over Philly, revealed something important to Mazzulla: resilience.

It’s an opportunity to build a mindset and toughness,” he said after the comeback win over Detroit. “So to me, it’s like we have everything to gain in this. You talk about the In-Season Tournament creating something, how about the level of stress, pressure, and anxiety you felt in that arena today? To me, we gained a ton from tonight’s game, I thought that was an awesome opportunity. We said that at halftime, we have the opportunity to build toughness, to build a mindset.”

Like the Detroit game, the Green Team was a heavy favorite against Philly. However, the Sixers were down two at halftime and completely threw the C's off rhythm with disruptive defense.

Boston didn't back down, though, outscoring the Sixers 31-24 in the fourth quarter. Celtics star Jayson Tatum even tallied 15 of his 29 total points in the final 12 minutes to seal the win.

The Celtics will need a little more of that fight in the coming days, as they have a tough schedule ahead of them.

On Friday, they take on the Dallas Mavericks and then have a 2022 Finals rematch against the Golden State Warriors on Sunday afternoon. After those two home games, Boston embarks on a road trip that features difficult matchups with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns. All five of those aforementioned teams currently hold winning records.