The Celtics knew the 76ers would nonetheless pose a problem with out Joel Embiid. They stated they revered their second-round opponent even with out their star huge man and the doubtless MVP.
And but, as soon as once more, they discovered a strategy to make life tougher on themselves.
Game 1 was not what the Celtics designed, and it was one other MVP who put them in a gap. James Harden scored 45 factors in an electrifying efficiency – together with the game-winning 3-pointer with seconds remaining – because the 76ers went into TD Garden and stole Game 1 with a shocking 119-115 victory.
Jayson Tatum scored 39 factors, Jaylen Brown added 23 factors and Malcolm Brogdon scored 20, however they couldn’t overcome 16 turnovers – a number of of them coming in unhealthy spots with the sport on the road – or Harden’s 45 factors, which included seven 3-pointers. It included a devastating step-back triple over Al Horford with 8.1 seconds remaining, which quieted the Garden crowd.
Marcus Smart dedicated his sixth turnover on the subsequent play earlier than Tatum dedicated a foul. Then, Paul Reed’s two free throws sealed the win and a 1-0 sequence lead for the Sixers.
The Celtics had a number of leads late, and took a 96-91 lead after Brown’s lengthy 3-pointer earlier than they gave up an 8-0 run, which included an impressive stretch from Harden. He hit a step-back 3 to provide Philly a 99-96 lead, after which one other moments later to place them up 102-100.
Boston answered with a fast run to retake the lead after Tatum discovered Brogdon for a go-ahead layup and a 104-102 lead. Tatum was inadvertently hit within the groin by PJ Tucker, however re-entered after a fast break.
The C’s and Sixers continued buying and selling blows. Tobias Harris hit a game-tying triple earlier than the Celtics took a 111-107 lead on Marcus Smart’s three-point play. With 1:38 to go, Maxey drew a three-point play, beating Smart to the spot on a bang-bang play that pressured the officers to go to the monitor. After a overview, the ruling stood and Maxey hit the free throw to make it 111-110.
On the following possession, the Celtics grabbed a pair of offensive rebounds and transformed on the third attempt when Al Horford completed a layup. Paul Reed made two free throws with 57 seconds left earlier than the C’s dedicated a turnover in a pricey spot. As the shot clock expired, Malcolm Brogdon threw the ball away proper to Maxey, who took it dwelling for a go-ahead layup and 114-113 Sixers lead.
The Celtics known as timeout earlier than drawing up a play for Tatum, who was fouled and made two go-ahead free throws because the C’s retook the lead. But on the subsequent journey, Harden hit the largest shot of the night time, pulling up and draining a 3-pointer over Horford to provide the Sixers a 117-115 lead.
After a principally robust first half, the Celtics light late within the second quarter and it carried over into the third. They dedicated 4 turnovers within the opening 4:16 of the second half. Despite taking pictures the lights out, although the Sixers didn’t have Embiid, the Celtics discovered themselves trailing. They had been down six after Harden drilled a tricky, step-back 3 within the nook with 5:06 left within the third.
But then the Celtics lastly began getting some stops. Smart hit a floater, Tatum made two free throws after which Malcolm Brogdon made back-to-back buckets, together with the go-ahead layup that put them up 85-83. Suddenly there was some life inside TD Garden.
Maxey didn’t let it final for lengthy. The Celtics held the Sixers scoreless for greater than 4 minutes earlier than the guard hit a tricky floater over Robert Williams. He hit one other jumper with 10 seconds left earlier than Tatum’s drive with 0.5 seconds to go tied the sport at 87 heading to the fourth.
– Early on, the absence of Embiid was evident. It was steady layup traces for the Celtics, who had been getting something they wished inside.
Tatum was slicing into the center for straightforward jams, resulting in an early Celtics lead. After falling behind early, a 7-0 run was highlighted by a thunderous dunk from Brown adopted by an alley-oop from Robert Williams. The C’s had been getting completely no resistance from the Sixers’ inside protection, and it confirmed within the field rating. They shot 85 % from the sector within the first quarter, and had been at 73.7 % at halftime. They had 26 factors within the paint after the primary, and held a 40-22 edge inside at halftime.
– Tatum was due for a robust taking pictures night time after a subpar – by his requirements – first spherical. He took management within the second quarter, as he scored 20 factors within the interval. He scored 12 consecutive Celtics factors throughout one stretch, and his pull-up 3-pointer with 3:31 left within the half gave the Celtics their largest lead at that time at 12. He entered the halftime locker room taking pictures 11-for-15, together with 4-for-4 from 3-point vary.
– As robust as they seemed offensively within the first half, the Celtics may have been higher. They dedicated seven turnovers within the first half, and their execution waned late within the first half because the Sixers went on a 11-4 half-ending run to chop the Celtics’ result in simply three on the break.
– The Celtics knew the Sixers had different threats past Embiid. But with some extra alternative, De’Anthony Melton performed higher than anticipated within the first half, as he scored 17 factors on 5 3-pointers.
– If the sport appeared extra free-flowing than regular within the first half, it made sense. Neither group took a free throw till there have been 30.8 seconds remaining within the second quarter, when Brown went to the road for 2.
– Grant Williams didn’t play in three of six video games of their first-round sequence towards the Hawks, and performed only one minute in Game 4, however he was the third Celtics participant to come back in off the bench when he checked in with 4:15 remaining within the first quarter.