The Boston Celtics are headed back to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight year. Another year of injured star players but not a lapse in the continued rise of success for the young team.
In their 114-122 Game, 5 victory the Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers. The process is now considered defeated, for now at least. Joel Embiid led the Sixers with 27 points and 12 rebounds. The big man had one last attempt to tie the game however, he could not convert on a layup under the basket. Aron Baynes played Embiid with physical defense and enough to not have the referees to blow their whistle.
Philadelphia led 109-105 with 1:37 left in the fourth quarter, however, could not find any additional baskets in the final moments until J.J. Redick’s deep three-point basket with 4.7 seconds left in the game.
After the ball was ruled out of bounce off Embiid’s knee, the Celtics took possession in which the Sixers fouled Marcus Smart on the next play. Smart would go to the free throw line and miss the first attempt.
He would then be called over to the bench by Brad Stevens who quietly advised Smart to miss the second free throw on purpose with 2.4 seconds remaining in the game. Smart’s foiled attempted bounced in and the Sixers had to inbound from under the opposing basket with no timeouts.
The halfcourt heave from Ben Simmons sailed into Smart’s hands who caught the ball as the game ended with the Celtics closing out the series in five games. Rookie Jayson Tatum led Boston in scoring with 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field.
While the process tasted a bit of disappointment with close losses in the series the young Philly team remains optimistic that this is only the beginning.
“The Process is never going to end,” Embiid said. “This is a process to get to the playoffs, we did it. This was a process to get to the conference finals, we didn’t. Next year, that’s our goal.”
The Sixers finished third place in the Eastern Conference after winning 52 games this season.
Boston is now set to host the Cleveland Cavaliers in for Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals. Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 PM EST on ABC on Sunday.