The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Boston Celtics with ease on Tuesday night, 115-103, to take a commanding 3-2 lead in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Joel Embiid led the scoring for the 76ers with 33 points.
The 76ers held a lead of as high as 21 points in the fourth quarter against the Celtics, who were jeered by the home crowd. The 76ers will be able to win the series and move on to the conference finals when they host Game 6 on Thursday night.
Embiid recorded seven rebounds, four blocks, and three 3-pointers in addition to his 30 points. This was the third consecutive game in the series in which he scored 30 points.
Tyrese Maxey contributed 30 points and six 3-point field goals to the team’s total. At the end of the game, James Harden had 17 points, ten assists, and eight rebounds.
Despite only shooting 11 of 27 from the floor, Jayson Tatum led Boston in scoring with 36 points. At the end of the game, Jaylen Brown had 24 points. The Celtics had a 12/38 shooting performance from beyond the arc.
The previous two times that the 76ers were in a second-round series that was tied 2-2, they were blown out in Game 5; the first time was a defeat by 36 points to Toronto in 2019, and the second time was a loss by 35 points to Miami last season.
This time it won’t work.
The 76ers had a lead of as many as 19 points at one point in the third quarter and went into the fourth with an 88-72 advantage.
The Celtics made a brief surge, cutting the lead to 11, but Philadelphia immediately replied with a run of their own, going on a 10-2 run to put the score back up to 102-83.
From the beginning of the game, Philadelphia made a concerted effort to get the ball into Embiid’s hands inside the post. When Boston’s big men were moved out of the paint, he was able to make midrange jump shots, which helped open the floor for his teammates.
In the meantime, the Celtics had a hard time finding their shot throughout the game.
The 76ers held an early advantage in the rebounding battle, and Joel Embiid’s pick-and-roll settings directed against Al Horford helped them capitalize on that advantage. It created opportunities for Embiid to score and helped Philadelphia build a 15-point lead in the first half of the game.
After missing his first six shots from the field, Tatum finally made his first basket with 5:48 remaining in the second quarter. He scored 15 points before the end of the first half but was just 3 of 11 from the field and 1 of 6 from 3-point range.
In the end, Boston managed to string together a 10-0 run to cut into the deficit, but Philadelphia found its footing and took a 58-49 edge into halftime.
Embiid of the 76ers scored 21 points in the first half, including a perfect 9-for-9 performance from the free-throw line.
Celtics: With 103 points, they scored the fewest in any postseason game. The first 24 minutes of the match saw Boston take 19 three-point shots and make five.
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