After narrowly dropping Game 4 in Philadelphia, the Boston Celtics had a golden opportunity to take control of the series on Tuesday night on their home floor. The Celtics entered the game as 7.5-point favorites before losing to their division rivals 115-103. Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid reached the 30-point mark as Philly led for the rest of the game after taking a 13-10 lead.
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The Sixers shot 50% from the field and 40% from beyond the arc. Maxey connected on six of his 12 three-point attempts to pace the Philadelphia offense. After scoring over 40 points in Games 1 & 4 of the series, James Harden took a different approach, only shooting the ball eight times. Harden still managed to put 17 points on the board while recording ten assists and grabbing eight rebounds.
The Celtics did not have the same shooting night as their opponent. Boston made 33 of their 83 field goal attempts, good for 39.8%. Their offense has lived and died by the three-pointer all year, and they died by it on Tuesday, shooting 12-38 from a distance. The Celtics will always take open threes given to them, created by driving to the paint to force the defense to crash before passing to the corner. Al Horford stood in the corner for most of the night and did not make any of his seven three-point attempts.
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Jayson Tatum scored 36 points but was not very efficient, shooting the ball 27 times. After the game, Tatum told reporters that the Celtics “just didn’t have it” in Game 4. Jaylen Brown had a solid night in the losing effort, scoring 24 points on 9-16 shooting. Boston trailed by nine points at halftime. But came out flat in the third quarter. Philadelphia extended their lead to 16 by the start of the fourth. The 76ers outrebounded the Celtics 49-36 and made 23 of their 27 free throws in the victory.
Photo Cred: Mass Live
The series moves back to Philadelphia on Thursday for a pivotal Game 6. The two teams split the two previous meetings in Philadelphia this series. Boston needs to win to avoid the end of their season. In a similar spot last season, the Celtics trailed the Bucks 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. Jayson Tatum scored 46 points in Milwaukee to force a Game 7. The Celtics could use a brilliant performance from Tatum or Brown on Thursday. The winner of the series will play the winner of the Heat/Knicks.