Posted on May 8, 2018, by Travis Pulver

When the Philadelphia 76ers lost Game Three to the Boston Celtics in overtime Saturday night, they put themselves in a bit of hole. No team has ever been down 3-0 and won a series (129-0). But records are meant to be broken, and someone has to be first—right?

Why not them?

Via @Sportsnaut

First things first; to make a run at history they had to start by doing one thing—win a game. It was close for most of the game, but Monday night, they finally did.

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Sixers head coach Brett Brown decided to roll with T.J. McConnell in the starting lineup for just the second time this season, and the move paid off. McConnell set a new career-high with 19 points along with seven rebounds, and five assists as he led the 76ers to a 103-92 win over the Celtics.

“If I saw a lane, I took it. If I had an open shot, I would try and take it,” McConnell said after the game (via ESPN).

McConnell was 9-12 from the floor and hit the only three-pointer that he attempted.

A competitive first half saw both teams go through dry spells. After the first, it was Boston that held the lead, 22-21. Boston took a six-point lead about halfway through the second but couldn’t hold the lead. With the help of an 11-0 run, the 76ers were able to get out to a four-point lead at the half, 47-43.

During the regular season, this would be the point where Brad Stevens would make some sort of halftime adjustment. It would work like a charm and the Celtics would take over in the third quarter—but not this time.

Philadelphia continued to play well in the third while the Celtics continued to foul. When the fourth quarter rolled around, Philly had an 11-point lead, 76-65.

A 10-3 run to start the fourth all but put the nail in the coffin. However, Boston battled back and stayed within 10-14 points the rest of the way.

McConnell is the man of the hour, but Dario Saric led the 76ers with 25 points and eight rebounds. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons each chipped in a double-double. Embiid scored 15 points and pulled down 13 boards; Simmons chipped in 19 points and 13 rebounds.


Jayson Tatum led the way for the Celtics with 20 points followed by Marcus Morris who had 17 off the bench. Jaylen Brown only managed eight points on the night in 23 minutes off the bench. After the game, he made it pretty clear what the Celtics will aim to do when the series moves back to Boston for Game Five (via ESPN):

“Finish the game. Get it done. Advance and do what we were supposed to do.”

Game Five will be Wednesday night. Should they win, they will go on to play the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals. LeBron James and the Cavaliers closed out their series with the Raptors Monday night with a dominant win, 128-93.

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