Biggest flaw – allowing Boston back in the game
The 76ers jumped to a 22-point lead in the first half, but by halftime they held just a 56-51 lead. Late in the half, the Celtics were simply beating the Sixers down the floor, flourishing in transition and having way too many open shooters. The Sixers appeared tired, not getting back and leaving too many open players.
No question, coach Brett Brown should have called a timeout, not only to stop the momentum but also because the Sixers looked out of gas.
There are many reasons why the Sixers lost, including failing to control Terry Rozier in transition, especially in the fourth quarter, but allowing the Celtic back in the game before halftime was the Sixers biggest undoing.
Big lift by McConnell; Simmons struggles
Trailing by four points entering the fourth quarter, T.J. McConnell scored the Sixers first four points and all evening he gave them a major spark off the bench. A few minutes later he got an offensive rebound, passed it out to Robert Covington who made a three. Right before being replaced in the fourth quarter, McConnell fed Ersan Ilvasova for a layup. McConnell had eight points, hitting all four field goal attempts, five assists, two steals and no turnovers. Ben Simmons was struggling and Brown went longer with McConnell. When McConnell was replaced by Simmons with 5 minutes and 29 seconds left in the fourth quarter, the Sixers held a 93-91 lead. Simmons returned at that point and didn’t make an impact. The Sixers can’t be competitive if Simmons is just playing ordinary and he was below that, finishing with one point, seven assists but five turnovers.
Embiid foul trouble
With five five fouls, Joel Embiid had to be careful and that was evident when Al Horford drove by him to increase Boston’s lead to 106-101 with just 8.3 seconds left. Horford scored with about two seconds left on the shot clock. Embiid was called for a few fouls away from the basket and it would eventually cost him because he wasn’t as aggressive defensively.In addition, Embiid didn’t post up enough, falling in love with the three-pointer. He shot just 1 of 6 from three-point range.