Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers: Lineups, preview & prediction 5/5/18
The Boston Celtics have a chance to put a stranglehold on their conference semifinal series Saturday when they look to take a 3-0 lead on the 76ers in Philadelphia.
After coasting through most of their victory in Game 1, the Celtics (55-27) nonchalantly shook off a double-digit deficit and roared by the 76ers on Thursday night, recording a 108-103 victory to improve to 6-0 in Boston this postseason.
Rookie Jayson Tatum scored 21 points, Terry Rozier added 20 and Marcus Smart added 19 as Boston’s rally from 22 down in the second quarter was their largest postseason comeback since overcoming a 24-point deficit to win Game 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals.
Jaylen Brown, who sat out Game 1 with a strained hamstring, came off the bench Thursday night to contribute 13 points in 25 minutes as he made five of 12 shots. Boston were again proficient from 3-point range, hitting 15 of 36 after knocking down 17 of 35 in the series opener.
J. J. Redick scored 23 points and Joel Embiid added 20 and 14 rebounds to pace Philadelphia, but rookie Ben Simmons, the linchpin of their offense, had just one point and seven assists with five turnovers as the Celtics have decided the best way to slow down the 76ers up-tempo offense is by sending multiple defenders at the 6′ 10″ point guard.
Philadelphia were much improved from beyond the arc in Game 2, hitting 13 of 33 in Thursday’s loss as Redick and Robert Covington were a combined nine for 16. Despite squandering that enormous first-half lead, the 76ers regrouped and still led 93-88 with 5:48 to play before being outscored 20-10 down the stretch.
The series will remain in Philadelphia for Game 4 on Monday night.