In Recreation 2 of the Jap Convention Semifinals, the Boston Celtics did what they have been speculated to. Having absorbed a tricky last-second loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in Recreation 1, the Celtics bounced again with an assertive blowout win, night the collection at one recreation apiece. Tonight, they have been tasked with taking the offensive; a win on Philly’s dwelling court docket would put them again within the driver’s seat of the collection. Although they often struggled in a bodily demanding contest, they completed their aim, taking a 2-1 collection lead with a 114-102 win.
Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 27 factors, although he related on simply 3-of-11 three-point makes an attempt on the night. Jaylen Brown added 23 factors of his personal, however struggled with late foul hassle, and Al Horford drilled 5 threes en path to 17 factors. For the Sixers, the hobbled Joel Embiid compiled 30 factors, 13 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 blocks, however the Sixers couldn’t discover him sufficient assist to beat Boston’s tenacious protection.
The Celtics kicked off the sport with an offensive outburst, drilling six of their first 10 threes within the first quarter — together with two from Tatum — and compiling an early 10-point lead. Their efficiency shortly remodeled right into a Jekyll and Hyde act, nevertheless; as soon as the prodigious three-point fee slowed, their struggles to create benefits within the paint got here to the forefront. With the added complication of a flurry of 76ers free throws, the Boston benefit quickly evaporated, they usually trailed by one coming into the second quarter, 29-28.
Each offenses remained extremely anemic within the second quarter. After hitting six threes within the first jiffy of the sport, the Celtics made only one the remainder of the way in which to the halftime break, cratering their three-point proportion down to simply 30%. As unhealthy as they regarded, although, the Sixers regarded worse; the Philadelphia offense shot worse than 35% from the sphere, getting bullied by a dialed-in Boston protection. The Celtics gained a slugfest of 1 / 4 by eight factors, and led 57-50 coming into the halftime break.
This was a very powerful evening for Philadelphia’s co-star, James Harden. After connecting on a three-pointer and changing a number of free throws through the Sixers’ first-quarter run, he did not convert a area aim try over the following two-and-a-half quarters of basketball, sitting at a brutal 1-for-9 mark from the sphere (with 5 turnovers) by means of three quarters of play. His nadir coincided with Philly’s greatest probability to flip the Boston lead, as he bricked a three-pointer with the Sixers down simply two factors. It proved to be a expensive missed alternative; the Celtics rallied after the fortunate break, and took an 11-point lead into the fourth quarter, 88-77.
A small scare: with slightly below eight minutes to play within the third, Tatum careened into the primary row of the gang and got here up showing to have injured his left knee. He returned to the locker room briefly as Joe Mazzulla challenged a foul name on Al Horford, however was again on the court docket as play resumed and continued to play with seemingly no limitations.
The Celtics’ harm state of affairs worsened early within the fourth quarter, as Robert Williams III additionally tumbled into the entrance row saving a ball out of bounds. He didn’t make it again down the court docket on the following possession as he got here up having seemingly injured his elbow within the fall. He exited the sport as Philadelphia went to the free throw line and proceeded to the, Celtics’ locker room. A couple of minutes later Embiid stepped on Grant Williams’ head in what was very clearly an accident as he fell to the ground in a snarled state of affairs, and Williams went to the sideline to be attended to by Boston’s trainers.
In the meantime, the Sixers started to claw into the Boston lead. They trimmed it inside two possessions, trailing by six factors halfway by means of the ultimate quarter. The Celtics as soon as once more appeared to gradual their tempo with a double-digit lead within the fourth quarter, trying to work the clock reasonably than persevering with so as to add to their lead. As soon as once more, the Sixers pressured their manner again into the image. A 3-pointer from Malcolm Brogdon afforded the Celtics a little bit of momentum, giving them an eight-point lead with simply over 5 minutes to play.
With each Williamses now out of the sport, the Sixers discovered a little bit of a rhythm. Harden related on his second made basket of the sport, and a pair foul calls led to free throws for Embiid, bringing the Sixers inside 4 factors. Grant Williams was in a position to reenter the sport to assist the Celtics’ dwindling frontcourt depth, and Horford’s fifth three-pointer of the evening pressured a Philadelphia timeout with simply over three minutes remaining, the Celtics forward 103-96.
Grant Williams’ return was a welcome sight, and shortly thereafter, the Celtics received extra excellent news: Robert Williams was labeled as out there to return, having suffered a forearm contusion in his fall. He didn’t in the end verify again in down the stretch, nevertheless, as Mazzulla opted for the Grant-Horford frontcourt as a closing group.
Harden related on a three-pointer with simply over two minutes remaining in regulation, his third bucket of the sport, nevertheless it was sandwiched by two- and three-point jumpers from Tatum that netted the Celtics a nine-point lead because the clock ticked down. Harden made his solution to the free throw line however made simply one in all his two freebies, and Tatum answered with a 2-for-2 journey to the road of his personal, giving the Celtics a 10-point lead with 1:18 left on the clock.
Popping out of the timeout, the Sixers have been whistled for a five-second violation on the inbounds go, resulting in a expensive turnover. With 39 second left on the clock, Brown made his solution to the free throw line, hitting each free throws to place the sport on the ice.
Subsequent up, the 2 groups will stay in Philadelphia with the Celtics trying to take a commanding 3-1 collection lead over their East Coast rivals, taking the court docket for Recreation 4 this Sunday at 3:30 PM EST on ESPN.