The Boston Celtics came into their second-round series against the Philadelphia 76ers heavily favored. Heading into the series, Philadelphia was without their MVP Joel Embiid, and even when he returned to action, many believed that he would not be playing at 100%. Despite this, Boston now finds themselves tied at 3-3 with game seven set to take place in Boston.
For Boston to claw back and win this series, they have to once again show up and play incredible defense to limit Philadelphia’s trio of scorers. They have struggled to be consistent in this playoff run, however, they will have to show up in game seven.
The Boston Celtics took a very tough 115-103 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in game five. This was a game that the 76ers were in full control of for almost all of the game.
Despite losing the game, Jason Tatum had an incredible showing and led the team in scoring with 36 points. While he did everything that he could to lead his team to victory, he was not shooting efficiently by any means. He finished the game shooting 11/27 from the field and 3/11 from three. He would also lead the team in rebounds and assists with tenant five respectively. While Tatum struggled in terms of efficiency, this was still an incredible showing from him, and outside of Jalen Brown, none of his other Celtics teammates really showed up.
On the flip side, Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey would lead the scoring charge for the 76ers with both players putting up 30-point performances. Embiid would lead the team with 33 points. Tobias Harris did an incredible job on the boards, pulling in a team-high eleven rebounds, and James Harden took a facilitating role in this game and finished the contest with ten assists.
Game five was especially terrible showing from Al Horford. While almost no one in the league is capable of stopping Joel Embiid, he must find a way to slow him down. If Embiid has another 30-point performance in this series, there is a strong chance that Boston will not win this series. Along with this, Horford was abysmal on the offensive end. He finished the game with zero points and shot 0/7 from the field and 0/7 from three as well. He has been given the enormous task and a lot of trust from his coaching staff in defending Embiid and being the team’s starting center. If he continues to play similarly to how he did in game five, the Celtics have no chance of advancing to the next round.
Along with this, for a majority of the games that the Celtics have won in the postseason this year, they have gotten very solid scoring performances out of backup guard Malcolm Brogdon. There were points in this series that Brogdon appeared to be the hottest hand on the Celtics, however, this was far from the case in game five. He finished the game with only seven points, three rebounds, and four assists while shooting 3/9 from the field and 1/2 from three. While this would not be an awful game from any backup point guard, the Celtics have been heavily reliant on Brogdon to carry the offense while Brown and Tatum are benched.
Game six was a defensive battle that the Celtics took by a final score of 95-86. Marcus Smart shockingly led the team in points and assists with 22 and 7 respectively. While Al Horford had another rough night on the offensive end, he led the team in rebounds with eleven.
Embiid and Maxey once again led the scoring charge for the 76ers with 26 points each. Embiid also led the team in rebounds with 10 while Harden once again served as the facilitator with 9 assists.
While the series is now tied, this will still be a very tough game seven for the Celtics to win. If they are once again able to make it a defensive game, they could very well pull it off and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. However, it is unlikely for the 76ers to struggle this much on offense again.
Tatum once again had a very tough shooting night. While he still managed to put up 19 points, he only shot 5/21 from the field and 4/11 from three. He is the number one option for the Celtics, and while they were still able to pull out the win without him scoring efficiently, this likely will not be an option in game seven.
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