The Eastern Conference semifinals continue as a pair of Atlantic Division rivals take the hardwood in the City of Brotherly Love. Surprisingly, Boston took the first three games of the series, winning handily, 117-101, in Game 1 and following that up with a spirited comeback in a 108-103 Game 2 win Thursday night.
Philadelphia led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter and was up 76-65 after three. Can Philadelphia stave off elimination?
Veteran leader Al Horford seems to have just as much impact off the court as he does on it. Horford, who had a late go-ahead bucket and game-sealing steal in overtime, showed that veteran leadership still has value when constructing championship-caliber teams.
Simmons, the rookie of the year favorite, had a miserable Game 2 and scored only one point and failed to score a field goal for the first time all year. Boston converted nine of 44 free throws and committed 13 turnovers.
The underdog status is understandable considering this was the Celtics' first road win since March 28 against the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City, breaking a six-game road skid that included all three first-round playoff games in Milwaukee. The Sixers have made some adjustments since Game One, but not enough to win a game, playing 48 minutes. They aren't the sexiest team, but they have great fundamentals and play as one team, not just a bunch of superstars like some of the other title contenders.
The Celtics will have home court advantage against their likely Eastern Conference Finals opponents, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Going into the Philadelphia series, many people thought that the young Sixers team could actually make the conference finals. Can Brett Brown get his team to deliver a victory in Game 4?
In the series - which went the full seven games - IN held the Cavs to a highly impressive 94.9 points per game.
Those two players are Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. For the season, Embiid averaged 22.9 points and 11.0 rebounds per contest in 63 games.
Marcus Morris rebounded a Simmons miss, and the Celtics called a timeout with 8.4 seconds left and Philly up, 98-97.
With only eight teams left in the National Basketball Association playoffs, who will make it to the Conference Finals?
Maybe taking the approach of their unflappable coach, these young Celtics just find a way to block out all the noise. "We made a couple of bad mistakes at the end".
It's wonderful to think that even without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, Boston is still one game away from the Eastern Conference Finals. The Philadelphia 76ers are allowing 38.9 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 49.3 rebounds per game.
Stephen A. Smith went on ESPN and said that in all of his years covering the National Basketball Association, he has never seen a head coach make so many errors and be nearly exclusively responsible for causing his team to lose three playoff games in a row. Is Brett Brown really the guy to lead this team forward?
Belinelli opened OT with a 23-footer and Redick followed with a 3 that appeared to take him off the hook. The process largely worked, as Philly wound up with stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, more than making up for busts Jahlil Okafor and Michael Carter-Williams, among others.