Sixers-Celtics Game 5 preview: A three spree would help Philly

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The Sixers can use some three-pointers from JJ Redick in Game 5.

76ers (1-3; 5-4) at Boston Celtics (3-1; 7-4)

Today at 8 p.m., TD Garden

Talking points

The 76ers need to find a way to start making three-point shots. Coach Brett Brown has decided to go with his sharpshooters instead of the team’s defensive-minded players in the Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Celtics.  However, the Sixers have shot only 29.5 percent on threes in the first four games. With Boston up by three games to one, Philly’s season could be over if its three-point shooting doesn’t improve.

On Monday, JJ Redick, Robert Covington, Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova were a combined 8 for 35 from the field and 3 for 17 (17.6 percent) on three-pointers in the Game 4 victory.

At first glance, one would have assumed that T.J. McConnell’s being inserted into the starting lineup might have contributed to Redick’s poor outing. McConnell, Ben Simmons and Redick formed a three-guard backcourt with McConnell and Simmons sharing ball-handling duties. The veteran out of Duke had his worst game of the series, scoring seven points on 3-for-11 shooting (1 for 7 on threes). He averaged 20.3 points in the first three games.

“In general, we haven’t shot the ball well,” Brown said. “He does work. Like, he has to deal with Marcus [Smart] posting up, and he’s so competitive, he’s tough and he has a low center of gravity.

“You wouldn’t anoint JJ as an athlete. But you certainly would anoint him as intellectually gifted and incredibly competitive, smart with defensive scheme.”

As a result, the Sixers expect him to bounce back tonight.

How to watch and follow the game

Probable starting lineups

Celtics

# Name Pos. Ht. PPG RPG/APG
0 Jayson Tatum SF 6-8 18.3 4.6 RPG
42 Al Horford PF 6-10 17.2 8.7 RPG
46 Aron Baynes C 6-10 5.8 6.1 RPG
36 Marcus Smart SG 6-4 10.1 4.1  APG
12 Terry Rozier III PG 6-1 18.3 6.1 APG

Coach: Brad Stevens (playoff record: 18-21)

Injury report: Gordon Hayward (left ankle rehab, out); Kyrie Irving (left knee surgery, out); Daniel Theis (left knee surgery, out), Shane Larkin (left shoulder, questionable)

Sixers 

# Name Pos. Ht. PPG RPG/APG
17 JJ Redick SG 6-4 18.7 2.6 APG
9 Dario Saric PF 6-10 16.1 7.0 RPG
21 Joel Embiid C 7-2 20.6 12.9 RPG
12 T.J. McConnell SG 6-2 5.5 1.9 APG
25 Ben Simmons PG 6-10 16.1 9.6 RPG, 7.9 APG

Coach: Brett Brown (playoff record: 5-4)

Injury report: None

Coming games

Friday: *Game 6,  8 p.m., at the Wells Fargo Center

Sunday: *Game 7, TBD, at TD Garden

* – if necessary

More Game 5 preview links

Keith Pompey: Confident Sixers believe they can find a way to stay alive in series vs. Celtics

Keith Pompey: Sixers’ Brett Brown sings Jayson Tatum’s praises as the rookie shines in NBA playoffs

Bob Ford: Does T.J. McConnell’s playoff performance represent changing of the guards for Sixers?

David Murphy: A few big reasons for optimism about the Sixers in Game 5 against the Celtics

Sarah Todd: Celtics coach Brad Stevens says Dario Saric ‘most unheralded’ young talent on Sixers

Marc Narducci: Look for the Celtics to get Al Horford more shots in Game 5