On Thursday night, the Boston Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers by 95-86. This victory ensures that Game 7 of the Eastern Conference playoffs will be played in Boston. Jayson Tatum started the game by missing his first six 3-point attempts, but then he hit two critical 3-pointers in a row late in the game.
The reigning champions of the conference are playing on their home field. The previous year, in the second round against Milwaukee, Boston was behind 3-2 when it won Game 6 away from home and then Game 7 at home to clinch the series.
Sunday is the day of Game 7
Tatum, who finished the regular season averaging 30.1 points per game, never stopped shooting, even when he was missing shot after shot. His ineffectiveness significantly contributed to the fact that the Celtics could not maintain a 16-point advantage, and he started the game by cutting 14 of his first 15 field goal attempts overall.
The Sixers struggled to get through the first half of the game despite having a chance to play in their first conference final since 2001 on the line. However, Joel Embiid showed why he should be the MVP and led the Sixers to a lead in the fourth quarter.
At the 5:25 mark of the game, Tyrese Maxey made both of his free throw attempts to give his team an 83-81 lead.
And that was the end of Philadelphia.
Tatum sank a three-pointer to give the Celtics a lead of 84-83, and then he sank another one to make the score 87-83 and put the Celtics in complete command of Game 6.
The 76ers were led in scoring by Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, who each finished with 26 points.
In his postseason coaching tenure, 76ers head coach Doc Rivers has lost a 3-1 series lead three times. Despite the fact that the 76ers never led by more than a few points, this is their second loss at home in the series, and they appeared to have gained momentum in the fourth quarter.
Tatum instead put the 76ers away with one final three-pointer, which gave them a 95-84 deficit to overcome.
Following Joel Embiid’s pull-up jumper that tied the game at 81, the 76ers went the final 6 minutes and 13 seconds of the game without scoring a basket.
During the first half, Tatum could not make any of his ten shots, including five attempts from beyond the arc. As a result, the Celtics held a seven-point lead. After suffering a severe injury to his left wrist during the previous season, Tatum has indicated that he may require surgery during the offseason. However, in the final twelve minutes of the game, he found the solution to his shooting woes, and as a result, the East Division champions are still in the game.
Tatum completed the game with 19 points on just 5-for-21 shooting. Still, the final stat line only matters a little after he played a significant role in a 14-3 run that kept the Celtics’ hopes of repeating as conference champions alive under the guidance of rookie head coach Joe Mazzulla.
The Sixers could not keep the full house as rocking as they were when the game started, similar to what happened in Game 3 when they squandered the momentum off of Embiid’s MVP ceremony. Instead, the crowd was silent as the Celtics raced out to an early lead of 15-3, which also confused the Sixers.
However, Embiid, James Harden, and Tobias Harris had an inefficient first half, which contributed to the Celtics’ 40-26 lead at the break. Brogdon’s three 3-pointers were one reason for this. Even though Embiid, Harris, and Harden started 1 of 7 and 2 of 8, respectively, the deficit might have been much more severe.
The Sixers were only trailing by a score of 50-43 at the half because they regained some of their composure, and a creaky Harden startled everyone with a rare and massive dunk.
“I am prepared for battle.” — Mazzulla, with a severe expression on his face, regarding his disposition before Game 6.
Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, Roots drummer Questlove, Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce, and his brother Travis Kelce, a tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs, were all in attendance at the game.
Celtics: Boston’s starting lineup was 6 feet 10 inches tall. Instead of Derrick White, you should use Robert Williams. Williams participated in the postseason for the first time and started the game. Mazzulla explained his decision to change things by saying, “Rob gives us a lift.”
Harden finished the game with 4 for 16 shooting and 0 for six from beyond the arc for the 76ers.