After consecutive wins, the Boston Celtics fell to the Philadelphia 76ers 116-115 in dramatic fashion as the series becomes tied 2-2 headed back to Boston.
The majority of the game was tough to watch for Boston fans. Jayson Tatum largely disappeared for the beginning portion as Philadelphia created and maintained a strong lead. Boston, though, found a way to turn it on late.
Late game antics
The 76ers led by nine points headed into the fourth quarter, but the Celtics roared back. Boston and Philadelphia traded leads multiple times, with Marcus Smart missing a potential game-winner at the buzzer. The game went into overtime.
James Harden and Joel Embiid both shined throughout the game, and continued that into overtime. The 76ers took a one-point lead with 19 seconds remaining. That’s when everything went downhill for the Celtics. Boston elected not to use one of their two remaining timeouts, and proceeded to implore patience despite the one-point deficit. Tatum drove with only a few seconds remaining, kicked it out to Smart who failed to beat the buzzer.
Ultimately, the Celtics never got a shot off on the last possession of the game, and the 76ers won the game.
What were they thinking?
Some speculated whether Celtic’s head coach Joe Mazzulla should’ve used a timeout to advance the ball and draw up a play. He elected not to, and they didn’t end up getting a great shot. The lack of urgency was evident, as they seemingly were looking to take the last shot. If they had gone quicker and missed a shot with time remaining, they could have fouled and earned themselves another possession.
If they were to miss and then foul, the Sixers could make both free throws and it would still be a one possession game. The Celtics then could use a timeout and advance the ball with a chance to tie. No matter how you draw it up, they didn’t win the game, and the series is tied. Mazzulla faces scrutiny, but the Celtics late-game struggles aren’t new. It’s awfully similar to last year’s playoffs.
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