Celtics book ticket to East Finals

Celtics book ticket to East Finals

There is one spot remaining in the Conference Finals and it can be determined as early as Wednesday when the Celtics host the Sixers in Game 5 of their semifinal series.

Game 7 (if necessary): Cleveland at Boston, Sunday, May 27 at 8:30 p.m. Coming back from a 3-game deficit is not common in the playoffs, especially for a team with limited playoff experience, at least in the modern day, but that is exactly what Philly needs to do, or else they will find themselves off the court until next season.

It might have been more ideal for Boston if Smart had made the first free throw and missed the second, potentially creating an offensive rebound or forcing a rushed Sixers' possession.

Smart was fouled on the ensuing inbound, and missed his first freebie.

Marcus Smart's assessment of the team's mindset heading into Game 5 was more blunt on Monday: "We're pitbulls". He finished with 14 points, six rebounds, six assists and three steals in his 33 minutes off the bench.

Embiid has needed to take an average of 21 shots to score his 22 points per game, and his defense hasn't quite been what it was in the regular season. But at the end of the day we didn't play well enough to beat Philadelphia in that game. They struggled to match the 76ers' physicality in Game 4 but return to the friendly confines of TD Garden with another chance to close out the series.

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The game started as a back-and-forth affair with 17 lead changes and seven ties in the first half.

But the thought has to have crept into their minds - which is the Celtics greatest fear: they do not want to be the first team in National Basketball Association history to lose a playoff series after leading 3-0. Atypically, the Celtics attacked the rim more than they launched 3-pointers, and the result was a relatively efficient first-half.

Baynes also continued his recently acquired three-point form, dropping a long bomb late in the second quarter that sparked the Celtics on a 19-6 run.

Horford scored inside out of the pause, then knocked down a short jumper for a four-point lead with 5:55 to play. Betfair Sports has posted odds in favor of Boston at 1.40, and, 3.10 for the 76ers.

That lead wouldn't hold, as Philadelphia ripped off a 11-2 run. And just how do the Celtics go about doing that? Horford was his veteran self with 15 points and eight rebounds. The 76ers must be ready to win the turnover battle and create as many fast break opportunities as possible.

"The last thing I want to do is lean on youth, I don't want to do that", Sixers head coach Brett Brown said after losing Game 3 in an overtime thriller. "I think tonight was a night where he really stepped up and gave us the energy and allowed everybody else to really feed off that".