Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 5-7-2018 - Prediction & Preview

May 08, 2018, 03:19
Boston Celtics vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 5-7-2018 - Prediction & Preview

While the Aussie phenom has been able to escape without a serviceable jumper for the majority of the season, he's had a tough time in the Philadelphia 76ers' second round playoff series against the Boston Celtics.

The second-seeded Boston Celtics will go for a sweep of the third-seeded Philadelphia 76ers on Monday when they visit them as underdogs for Game 4 of their NBA Eastern Conference second-round playoff series. The Philadelphia brain trust believed the Washington guard was a better fit for what their team needed. If it had been, the shot would have won the game, capped an insane ending and cut Boston's series lead to one game. "Our guys are focused", Stevens said of Monday night's Game 4.

The mastermind of Boston's impressive 3-0 series lead is the Celtics' 41-year- old head coach Brad Stevens. He is arguably now the second best 3-point shooter on his team.

Game three was Tatum's ultimate performance so far. Finally, I have to give credit to the Celtics players.

It wasn't lost on Embiid that Horford, who had 13 points in 42 minutes, wasn't whistled for a single foul all night. Tatum has scored 20 or more points in five consecutive playoff games, passing Larry Bird for the most consecutive 20-point playoff games by a rookie in franchise history. Horford may have tumbled to the ground right after taking the shot, but it didn't matter because he just put the Celtics ahead in a critical juncture of the game. And with how wide open the East looked due to the Cleveland Cavaliers' struggles, the Toronto Raptors' unreliable nature and the Celtics' injury woes, it actually appeared as if the stars were aligning for Philadelphia to reach the NBA Finals. The 76ers have no one to blame but themselves for the missed opportunities, especially against the banged up and depleted Boston rotation.

While Brett Brown asked the question, why can't the Sixers be the "1" and break those streaks, the Celtics don't play like they want to be that one.

The 76ers are having their ups and downs shooting the ball in the postseason: they hit 43.6 percent from the field and 34.1 percent from beyond the arc while connecting on 10.5 triples per contest.

Per Basketball Reference, Horford posted solid if unspectacular averages of almost 13 points, more than seven rebounds and just under five assists per game while shooting 49 percent from the field during the 2017-18 regular season. Luckily, Marco Belinelli beat the buzzer to send the game to overtime.

Robert Covington is minus-45, while Dario Saric is minus-40.

Then Horford made a steal on a bad inbounds pass by Ben Simmons and sank the ensuing free throws when Joel Embiid was forced to foul. Every game 1,500 more people pronounce Lebron James the greatest ever and it's okay to do this because if you're wrong in the moment, there is still a chance that in 2-3 years you'll be right. Boston has ground and clawed their way to this big lead thanks to playing gritty team basketball and making crucial plays at critical times.

Game 3 is really a winnable game for the Sixers, but it is not the officiating that they should blame for their loss. However, there have also been times they have looked painfully naïve, and never more so than Saturday.

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