Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers: 5 things we learned

Here are our five takeaways from an enthralling series that ended with Boston reaching the Eastern Conference Finals.

(Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports via Reuters/Greg M. Cooper)

  1. 1 These two sides are the future of the Eastern Conference

    If it wasn't already obvious before this series, it has become clear that these two old foes are now the two new teams to battle it out in the Eastern Conference for future seasons.

    These two storied franchises have a chequered and well-documented history, but this series has just proven to the rest of the NBA that they are the future of the league, with up-and-coming rosters on a path to success. 

    With Cleveland looking like they will have their reign on the Eastern Conference end after the conclusion of this season, there's no doubting that the winner of the Eastern Conference in seasons to come will be one of these two franchises.

  2. 2 Brad Stevens is the best coach in the NBA

    The Celtics are into their second consecutive Eastern Conference Finals, and they made it this year after completely overhauling their roster, on which only four players from their 2016/17 campaign remained - Al Horford, Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown and Terry Rozier. 

    Despite the squad overhaul, the system Brad Stevens has instilled at Boston has been good enough that a new wave of players have been able to fit in seamlessly. 

    The way Stevens had his troops limit the high-scoring, fast-paced 76ers side throughout this series is a true testament to his ability as a head coach, and is why the Celtics continue to succeed.

  3. 3 The 76ers will come back better next season

    A majority of pundits had predicted that this 76ers side, as inexperienced as it is, would be the Eastern Conference champions, or at least be able to challenge the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference decider. 

    This wasn't to be, but the improvements the 76ers made this season have been nothing short of astronomical, and the drastic rise of this side means that their fans shouldn't be disheartened by this 4-1 series defeat, but rather optimistic for next season. 

    This season, the 76ers have won more games than they did for the previous three campaigns, and this was their first playoffs campaign since 2012. You can expect the 76ers to add this hard series loss to their experience and be better for it. 

    Next season, they'll most likely make changes to their lineup given the amount of cap space they have available. Whoever they add, this side will be in a much better space when 2018/19 comes around. With this series loss and lessons from it under their belt, they'll be hungry for more success next season.

  4. 4 Ben Simmons needs to develop a jump shot

    Ben Simmons faced many road blocks in these playoffs, and despite having a fantastic series against the Miami Heat in the first round, the Celtics figured him out. 

    Simmons couldn't get to the basket and score as easily as he could in previous games, nor could he play with the composure as he had throughout the season, such was the immense pressure he was under by the Celtics. 

    He scored over 16 points on four occasions against the Celtics, with the one exception being a one-point showing in Game 2. The numbers were modest by his lofty standards, and not having a reliable jump shot played a key part. 

    This offseason, Simmons needs to work on his jump shot. If sides use the blueprint the Celtics used against him this series, Simmons will struggle in the NBA. But if he can develop a more reliable shooting stroke, then the NBA is for the taking.

  5. 5 The Celtics do not need stars to be successful

    It's hard to believe that the Celtics still have their two major stars, Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward, watching from the stands due to injury.

    This Celtics side was never supposed to make it this far, as many expected them to lose in the first round to Milwaukee. Regardless, the Celtics proved their worth and that they are still a formidable opponent, even without their two superstars. 

    Their system is outstanding, and the way their other role players have been able to contribute has been key to them getting past the Bucks and 76ers.

    What's scary, though, is the fact they will be better when Irving and Hayward return next season. It speaks a lot of their organisation that, despite all the injury woes, they are still competing this deep in the playoffs series.

    What were your major takeaways from the Celtics-76ers series? Comment below!

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