By: Kylan Watson
The Philadelphia 76ers had all the momentum as they faced the Boston Celtics in game six of their playoff series. They had beaten Boston on their home-floor in the previous game and faced a desperate Celtics team that wanted to extend this to a game seven on Sunday. The Celtics were able to force the Sixers into some bad late game execution and Jayson Tatum finally came alive to beat the Sixers 95-86.
The Celtics played like a team that was desperate for a victory. They made it rain from the three-point line early in this contest, they made 15/35 three-pointers, and the Sixers really had no answers for it. Marcus Smart imposed his will on this game. He scored 22-points and when the Celtics needed it most, he hit some pivotal shots to help them get out to a 14-point lead over Philly. He was the most valuable player for Boston tonight he made the right plays all night and found the open man. Smart wanted it more than most of the players on the floor tonight. The Sixers will need to find a way to account for him better in the pivotal game seven on Sunday.
Despite the Smart storm Philly was able to fight back in this contest. They turned the defensive pressure up on the Celtics and finally got some turnovers which got them out on the fast break for some easy opportunities. Philly was able to retake the lead thanks to the fast break and the duo of Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. They combined for 52 of the Sixers’ 86-points and they imposed their will in the third and fourth quarters. Both players were attacking the basket and getting the Celtic defenders in foul trouble. Unfortunately for the Sixers they experienced a power outage when they had a two-point lead over the Celtics, and they could not buy a basket. They needed somebody else to step-up and nobody answered the challenge and now the Sixers will have to go back to Boston on Sunday and win a fourth game in the Garden. The question is what Sixers team will show up the one from game five or the one in game six. If the game five team shows up, then Philly will make their first conference finals since 2001.
They let one slip away tonight because Jayson Tatum finally came alive after the Sixers had him in jail throughout most of this contest. Tatum scored 19-points and hit the last four shots for the Celtics to pull them over the finish line. He had another slow start to the contest which he will need to remedy if the Celtics want to beat a desperate Sixers team on Sunday.
The Sixers will face the most important game seven in franchise history and if they want to win the game, they will have to keep the ball moving on the offensive side. When everyone touches the ball, they are able to find high-percentage shots and take advantage of the Celtics aggressive defensive play. They will also need to stay attached to their man on the defensive side they limited their turnovers tonight and still lost the game because they could not keep Tatum down but if they can force the Celtics into difficult shots, they stand a better chance of winning this game. They will need to do these things if they want to win what will be a tough game in front of a raucous Boston crowd on Sunday.