Boston Celtics: Three Takeaways From Game 2 Vs. 76ers

Brown immediately scooped up a loose ball and threw down a jam to get the crowd on their feet.

The Philadelphia 76ers lost Game 2 in disappointing fashion, blowing a 22-point first half lead and dropping to 0-2 on the series.

BOSTON - The Celtics can feel good about their 2-0 Eastern Conference semifinal lead over Philadelphia, but they cannot feel comfortable.

What areas should the Celtics improve upon before facing the Sixers? Jaylen Brown, Marcus Morris and Marcus Smart all did a great job contributing, but it is the first three that have stepped things up in this series the most. Joel Embiid scored 10 points and grabbed 10 rebounds securing a first half double-double.

Game time is set for 5 p.m. The rookie has been absolutely spectacular in his first playoff appearance, and not even a road game at the Garden should faze him. The hosts finished the half on a 21-5, took their first lead on a rare Aron Baynes triple late in the third quarter, and eventually built enough separation down the stretch to hold on for an improbable 108-103 win.

The Celtics began to seize control from there taking a 76-68 lead as part of a 45-17 run dating back to the second quarter.

In 31 minutes on the floor, Simmons notched one point on 0-for-4 shooting, and had five turnovers compared to seven assists en route to accumulating a minus-23 - the worst plus-minus of any Sixers player. As a result, backup point guard T.J. McConnell and reserve shooting guard Marco Belinelli were the only non-starting perimeter players to see action.

Boston's red-hot start has led to a dramatic reversal in fortune for the club on the National Basketball Association playoff series prices, where they have climbed to a narrow -125 favorite after being pegged as a lengthy +325 bet prior to Game 1.

There was one sequence that summed up Simmons' game nicely in the fourth quarter.

Simmons refused to give the Celtics' defensive schemes too much credit for his rough showing, instead pointing to his own mentality as a reason he struggled throughout the night. Boston's Jayson Tatum was fouled on the ensuing possession, coming out of a timeout.

"I just appreciate the coaching staff for trusting me out there and trusting my word when I told them I was fine", said Brown. But Al Horford was able to drive past Embiid for a layup with 8.3 seconds left.

Tatum hit two free throws in the final seconds to seal the win.

Embiid jumped out to cover him, giving Horford the open lane for the drive and the easy score with 8.3 seconds left, giving Boston a five-point lead. "I mentioned there was one with (Terry) Rozier with his Euro-step that as I watched in the light of day, that was a moment you could have done it". Marcus Morris had 11 points, six rebounds, and three assists also as a substitute.

Brown had been dealing with a Hamstring injury that had him doubtful for Game 2 only to be upgraded to probable just an hour before tip-off.

  • Eleanor Harrison