Throughout the regular season, Boston's calling card has been a team that could dig themselves out of just about any hole. No biggie. They would scratch and claw until the end, unwilling to just roll over and accept any defeat. The Celtics did a great job of disrupting the 76ers, and preventing them from being at their best. That's not a luxury they have this postseason, but that doesn't seem to matter. The problems for the 76ers really started off with their top talent, and that is not something the Celtics are worrying about.
Brown's lobbying efforts worked, and the Celtics needed all the second-year wing player had to offer in escaping with a 108-103 Game 2 win over Philadelphia after trailing the Sixers by 22 points - their largest comeback win in the playoffs in almost a decade (2008 NBA Finals, Game 4 when they trailed by 24 points).
"They won two games at home and we have reciprocate", Sixers coach Brett Brown said.
JJ Reddick missed five of his seven three-point attempts, Robert Covington and Dario Saric both went 0-4, Ersan Ilyasova 0-3 and Marco Belinelli was 1-2.
If the Sixers can't beat a crippled Boston team, it doesn't bode well for the future balance of power, although Philadelphia has far more cap room available to add more help in the off-season.
On the other side of the ledger, the Celtics have a number of young players like point guard Terry Rozier, shooting guard Jaylen Brown, and rookie small forward Jayson Tatum.
Though Brown will check his leg again during tomorrow morning's shootaround, he continues to be listed as doubtful for Game 2 tomorrow night against Philadelphia. Everyone on the floor contributed. Marcus Smart finished 19 points and five rebounds as the Celtics improved to 5-0 at TD Garden this postseason. He knocked down a pair of threes in the final 1:42 of the half that almost blew the roof off the TD Garden.
During the C's 16-4 run in the later portion of the fourth to go up 104-97 with 1:57 left in the game, Tatum threw down this helluva slam-bam that was worthy of a "KIA Cam" in NBA2K 18.
"Coach was saying whoever brings the fight and whoever the tougher team is going to win", Rozier said after the win. "And we are going to stay with, by and large, what we did, but just try to do it better".
As for their own three-point shooting, most Sixers continued to work on it after practice.
The Celtics have formed a new look big three with some greatness contributions from the supporting cast. The way the crowd got behind us before the half - that last five minutes, man. The energy was insane. "And we took Fultz, Philly took Fultz, and obviously Fultz' whole rookie year - I think he'll be a rookie again next year sorta like (Ben) Simmons because of the injuries". The Celtics are 6-2 ATS in the last 8 meetings in Philadelphia, 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings and the underdog is 8-2 ATS in the last 10 meetings. I am going to play within my game.
I believe the Sixers will win Game Three, and I'm not ready to give up on their winning the series.
Boston didn't score until 8:37 of the first quarter, as Philly jumped out to an 8-0 lead, with all eight points coming from Redick. It set up a thrilling back-and-fourth final frame that saw four lead changes.
But an 11-4 run put Boston back in the lead 99-95 with less than four minutes to play. The 76ers got nothing from Ben Simmons, who played 31 minutes and finished with one point, five rebounds and seven assists.
For the second game in a row, the 76ers were favored against the Celtics. The Sixers will need to play more evenly if they expect to make a series out of this thing. "They kept me out there a little bit and I got warmer and warmer, and then I kind of got comfortable".