Here are my main takeaways and “best” and “worst” awards from the 76ers’ 101-98 overtime loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Saturday evening at the Wells Fargo Center.
- Like Thursday’s loss, Saturday night showed that Sixers aren’t as good as we thought. Against a formidable postseason opponent, they’re duplicating the mistakes they constantly made back in December, January and February. They’re turning the ball over after timeouts and not making the right decisions in key situations. Unfortunately for the Sixers, those mental mistakes ultimately decided the outcomes of Game 2 and Game 3.
- The Sixers have to stop blaming their youth for their miscues. The team’s young core has played together all season. Plus, Jayson Tatum is the youngest player to see action in this series. Yet, the moment isn’t to0 big for the 20-year-old. The Celtics small forward finished with a game-high 24 points and graded out with a game-best plus-24.
- The Sixers could have really used Justin Anderson‘s presence against Tatum. However, they once again decided not to play the defensive-minded reserve in a game where Tatum kept torching the overmatched Sixers defenders.
- The Celtics sense that they’re in the Sixers players’ heads. They just might be right. Outside of Joel Embiid and T.J. McConnell, Philly hasn’t displayed the same physicality it had against the Miami Heat.
- Robert Covington is lucky that he’s not in the spotlight like Ben Simmons. If so, folks would be poking fun at him nationally, perhaps more so than they did of Simmons for scoring one point in Game 2. Covington scored just one point Saturday after missing all eight of his shots. This is the second time this series Covington failed to make a basket. The small forward shot 0-for-6 in Game 1.
“Best” and “worst” awards
- Best performance: Horford gets this even on a night when Tatum finished with a game-high 24 points. The power forward finished with 13 points for the second straight game. Four of his points and a huge steal came in the final 5.5 seconds to win the game. Horford also blocked three shots and had two steals.
- Worst performance: This award goes to Covington.
- Best defensive performance: You have to give this to Horford.
- Worst statistic: This goes to Covington for missing all eight of his shot attempts.
- Best statistic: This goes to Tatum shooting 64.7 percent (11 of 17) from the field.