Boston Celtics (3-0; 7-3) at 76ers (0-3; 4-4)
Today at 6 p.m., Wells Fargo Center
What will the 76ers do? Will they continue to prioritize perimeter scoring over much-needed defense in the Eastern Conference semifinal series? It’s a tactic that has failed in the first three games. In addition to struggling to hit shots, the Sixers have been unable to make defensive stops.
All the while, the team’s reserve defensive stopper, Justin Anderson, has watched the last two games from the bench after playing in just 5 minutes, 16 minutes of Game 1.
“Your point about Justin being an athlete and a physical player is true,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. “At times, you are really seeking buckets. You are trying to find scoring options as much as anything.
“So with that sort of belief, the decision to play, as an example, Robert [Covington] 32 [minutes], Marco [Belinelli] 32 and JJ [Redick] 32 comes up the most when you say you’re just trying to find our best scorers.”
But will Brown’s tactic change with the team down by 0-3 in the best-of-seven series? A loss tonight would eliminate the Sixers from the playoffs.
Relying heavily on analytics, Brown usually sets his rotation before the game. Covington had one point and missed all eight of his shots Saturday in Game 3. And Belinelli has struggled to make defensive stops. It will be interesting to see if Brown breaks away from what the analytics tell him if the defense continues to suffer.
It’s now or never for this season.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) May 6, 2018
How to watch and follow the game
Probable starting lineups
|0||Jayson Tatum||SF||6-8||18.1||4.7 RPG|
|42||Al Horford||PF||6-10||17.9||8.6 RPG|
|46||Aron Baynes||C||6-10||5.5||6.1 RPG|
|36||Marcus Smart||SG||6-4||9.5||4.3 APG|
|12||Terry Rozier III||PG||6-1||19.0||6.5 APG|
Coach: Brad Stevens (playoff record: 18-20)
Injury report: Gordon Hayward (left ankle rehab, out); Kyrie Irving (left knee surgery, out); Daniel Theis (left knee surgery, out).
|33||Robert Covington||SF||6-9||9.1||5.1 RPG|
|9||Dario Saric||PF||6-10||15.0||6.9 RPG|
|21||Joel Embiid||C||7-2||21.5||12.8 RPG|
|17||JJ Redick||SG||6-4||20.1||2.5 APG|
|25||Ben Simmons||PG||6-10||15.8||9.1 RPG, 8.3 APG|
Coach: Brett Brown (playoff record: 4-4)
Injury report: None
Wednesday: *Game 5, TBD, at TD Garden
Friday: *Game 6, TBD, at the Wells Fargo Center
Sunday: *Game 7, TBD, at TD Garden
* – if necessary
Read more previewing Game 4
Go ahead and blame coaching, or mentality, or youth, David Murphy explains. The reason the Sixers are in this hole is simpler than you think.
Yep, we’re still talking about that Joel Embiid dunk. The Celtics say the short clip doesn’t tell the whole story.
Where have Robert Covington and Dario Saric been the last three games? They need to get past Boston’s smothering defense and start scoring.