(Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports via Reuters/Bill Streicher)
Boston (55-27) pushed Philadelphia to the brink of elimination with a 101-98 overtime victory on the road in Game 3 Saturday. Al Horford scored the go-ahead basket with 5.5 seconds to play and sealed the victory with a pair of free throws as the Celtics took advantage of the 76ers' inexperience in crunch time during both the end of regulation and the extra period.
Rookie Jayson Tatum scored 24 points, Terry Rozier added 18 and Jaylen Brown netted 16 off the bench for Boston, who are seeking their first sweep since taking out the New York Knicks in the first round of the 2011 postseason and their first sweep after the first round since blowing by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1987 conference finals en route to the title that season.
The loss overshadowed a monstrous effort by Joel Embiid, who had 22 points and 19 rebounds, and a strong bounce-back game from rookie Ben Simmons as he added 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. The 76ers (52-30), though, again struggled from 3-point range as they made just nine of 30 shots from deep and have connected at a 30.3 percent clip (27 for 89) in this series.
History is clearly against the 76ers since no NBA team have ever rallied from three games down to win a best-of-seven series in playoff history. Philadelphia have not been swept since Indiana knocked them out of the 1999 Eastern Conference semifinals.
Should the 76ers win to extend this series, Game 5 will be Wednesday night at Boston.