Game three is in Philadelphia on Saturday.
"They couldn't have been favored the first two games, could they?"
The underdog's victory was keyed by a 22-point comeback in the second quarter and made possible by a 1-point effort from Philadelphia's Ben Simmons.
He ended up suiting up and giving the Celtics a huge boost. The Celtics, however, simply weren't going to lose. Down by 21 with five minutes to play in the second, an offensive surge led by Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier saw the Sixers stall defensively, and helped Boston push it to just 56-51 in favor of Philadelphia to end the half. The 76ers actually shot quite well, with J.J Redick and Robert Covington having a stellar game across the board. However, they didn't give in. You know, you're sitting there wondering about matchups, you're thinking about timeouts, you're thinking about all of it.
"But the biggest thing for me ... it was a hard-fought game".
"I'm going to have bad games; it happens. I probably made everybody a little nervous with that one".
"They did a great job of making those shots, and we didn't", Brown said. It's a rivalry that goes back more than 50 years. It is a game of runs.
It was nearly a throwback to his LSU days, where Simmons' indecisiveness was considered one of his biggest issues. I think he's going to have to learn to play in these environments.
If Simmons wanted to shoot from distance, they would let him. Maybe you can do a timeout, maybe you can make some fouls. This is the league of the best players in the world. He left room for the former Washington Huskies guard to make an appearance in this series. "They were unsure; it was back and forth". It is hard to find exactly where we have to start.
CELTICS STAY HOTBoston built off its scorching finish to the first half by coming out just as hot in the third quarter.
"The first play of the game, or when I first got in, I got a breakaway and did everything to aggravate it I guess", he said. Give me the points.
"If we can take that away we will feel pretty good about it".
The Celtics are proving people need to change what they think about the talent level of this team, but consistency has been too much of a problem to trust it entirely right now. "I just want to be able to be out there and be physical for us", Anderson said, "and do what I do best, I guess". But as far as play or not play, I'm not even in those discussions. They are now in a 0-2 hole against the undermanned Celtics.
He said the Miami Heat, who the 76ers convincingly beat in the first round of the playoffs 4-1, were more physical than Boston. I think just the spirit leading up to that game, the spirit the last few days, I think it's one in the same. Instead, Philadelphia went soft, Boston took control and the team now heads home facing a 2-0 series deficit wondering what went wrong for a team that came into the series winning 20 of their previous 21 games. I have no doubt.
"It took everybody", Boston's Marcus Smart said. But it wasn't until the final night of the season that he provided his best example to date of the potential that the Sixers spent so much capital to draft.