By: Kylan Watson
The series between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers shifted to Philly tonight for game three. It was a very emotional night for the Sixers as Joel Embiid officially got his MVP trophy in front of the home fans. It was a charged environment, and the Boston Celtics made the better plays late in this game and made their shots to beat the Sixers 114-102. With the win the Celtics took a two-games to one series lead in this playoff contest.
The Sixers started this game off cold again they could not hit their shots early in this contest, and they let the offensive power outage affect them on the defensive end. As once again the Celtics made it rain from the three-point line and Philly could not match their offensive momentum. Boston made 16/45 three-pointers in this game, and when they missed a shot, the Celtics got the offensive rebound to get another opportunity to breakdown the Sixers defensive scheme. The duo of Jayson Tatum (27-points) and Jaylen Brown (23-points) combined for 50 of Boston’s 114-points. Both of them got whatever they wanted from the field and made the Sixers defenders pay for daring to leave them open. Jayson Tatum finally had a signature scoring performance, Philly held him in check throughout most of this series defensively. However, you cannot hold greatness down for too long. Now that he is hitting his shots the Sixers will need to send more bodies his way and make sure he is taking contested shots. An aggressive and confident Tatum is a great sign for Boston and a bad sign for Philly’s chances of winning this series. The Sixers will need to trap him and get the ball out of his hands, instead of letting him get whatever he wants from the field. Their best defensive possessions came when they shut the paint down and gave Tatum and Brown no room to breathe and they will need to do more of that if they want to win game four on Sunday.
Joel Embiid was one of the few 76ers to show up tonight he scored 30-points and grabbed 13-rebounds. He was very aggressive tonight and continued to keep the Sixers in this game on both sides of the ball. He would hit timely shots and ruin the Celtics plan by blocking shots and ending their possessions with a rebound. However, he needed help tonight and he did not get enough of it in the contest. The Celtics played swarming defense and it affected the Sixers backcourt of Tyrese Maxey and James Harden who only made seven/30 shots in this game and that simply will not beat Boston. Both Maxey and Harden need to find themselves if the Sixers want to respond to what Boston is doing. They are throwing a number of big guys at them and both players are not responding well to having length put on them. The Sixers will need to continue to move the ball around to get the shots that they want. They are reacting to what the Celtics are doing instead of being aggressive and forcing the issue like they did in game one. If they play like the aggressive team, they will get the results. Also hitting more shots can help too and ball movement will get their role players more involved in the offense and when that happens their defensive effort will be better.
On what happened in the game tonight, “They did the little things better than we did the little things, that’s for sure,” said 76ers Head Coach Doc Rivers.
With game four coming up on Sunday the Sixers will need to play with extreme desperation and not give Boston any chance to succeed. They will need to throw more bodies at Tatum and Brown, hold the Celtics to one possession and not let them get offensive rebounds, and move the ball around to get high-percentage shots. If they can implement these things, they can win on Sunday night and make a deep postseason run.
On what they need to do heading into game four, “There’s no panic. We’ve just got to settle down. We don’t have a lot of time. We’ve got to figure it out. We can’t go down 3-1,” said Embiid.