Philadelphia turns on Simmons as 76ers face uphill battle to advance

May 07 23:00 2018

BC-BKN-Celtics-76ers, 2nd Ld-Writethru, 977 Celtics take 3-0 series lead with OT win over 76ersAP Photo PXC111, PXC113, PXC112, PXC106, PXC101, PXC103Eds: Celtics 101, 76ers 98, OT.

The Celtics, who have been assertive on both ends of the court, have outscored the Sixers in transition in all but one game of the series, have held them below 44.0 percent shooting in every game of the series and have only allowed one player to shoot above 31.0 percent from three-point range. And whatever they’re feeding Jayson Tatum (24.5 points per game this series), Terry Rozier (19 ppg, 6.5 assists per game this postseason) and Brown, well keep those meals coming. But after a Game 1 blowout, an epic comeback in Game 2, and an exciting overtime win in enemy territory in Game 3, the Celtics are one win away from heading to the Eastern Conference Finals for a second straight season. I mean, I guess it’s the playoffs.

Brown has no apparent plans to add Justin Anderson, who theoretically could bring a necessary element of physicality on the defensive end, to the Game 4 rotation. Why?

Sixers center Joel Embiid did not have his best shooting night in the Game 3 loss as he finished 10-of-26 from the floor, completing the game with 22 points.

With 5.5 seconds left in overtime and the Celtics down one, Horford took an inbounds pass, sealed off Robert Covington, who fruitlessly tried to defend, and hit the shot that put Boston up one. I think it was just natural instinct. “A lot of mistakes were made”, Simmons said. It’s the same shots I’ve shot all three games. Though they may have been taken in different years, the teams have coalesced around young players and a steady coaching staff that has seen very little upheaval during both teams’ rises. Whereas the Celtics run a ton of action to try to create mismatches for Tatum and Horford (often targeting Marco Belinelli), the Sixers simply throw the ball in to Embiid and let him operate.

“We have a great opportunity in front of us”, Horford said.

“Just aesthetically I would say build that thing anew (laughs)”, Bryant said on the Chris and Caron show on Fox Sports Radio. Horford made the steal and was fouled by Embiid before he could get to the basket. A loss would also make the Raptors the first-ever No. 1 seed to be swept in the second round. “I know how to play the game”.

Confetti Guy – wearing a “Breaking News: I Don’t Care” T-shirt – pushed the button too early and the rectangular pieces were soaring everywhere. Stevens does not even have his two best players. In game two, JT scored 21 and went 7/14.

Plus throw in Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Marcus Morris, and we have ourselves a “Sizzlin’ Six”.

“Teams that are down 3-0 [in the playoffs] have a record of 129-0 [129 defeats and no wins]”, he said. The security of knowing Brooklyn’s picks would be at the top of the draft allowed the Celtics to play to win, while also knowing they would be drafting like an National Basketball Association doormat. “The hardest game to win is the first one”, and on and on it goes. Boston received a favorable matchup in the first round against a young, up-and-coming Milwaukee Bucks team and they’re squaring off in the second round against a talented, equally young and up-and-coming Philadelphia team. And Simmons’ decision to go to the rack instead of pulling the ball out to set up another play.

Boston Celtics Marcus Smart right and Philadelphia 76ers Ben Simmons chase after a loose ball during the first half of Game 3 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series Monday

Philadelphia turns on Simmons as 76ers face uphill battle to advance
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