Wednesday, May 10, 2023

76ers 115, Celtics 103: Joel Embiid scores 33, force C's to brink of elimination in Game 5 [PHI leads series, 3-2]

The Celtics are on the brink of elimination following a 115-103 Game 5 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Joel Embiid finished with 33 points on 10-of-23 from the field and 10-of-11 from the free throw line, while Tyrese Maxey also notched 30 points on 6-of-12 from 3-point range to help the Sixers take to a 3-2 Eastern Conference semifinals lead.
"It's not over. We have to get one more," Embiid said in his postgame presser. "All of us. We have to show up."
It was the third straight 30-point performance for Embiid, with James Harden adding 17 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds and Tobias Harris recorded 16 points, 11 rebounds for the 76ers.

After coming up short in a Game 4 comeback overtime loss, Boston played from behind all night in a pivotal series tie-breaker and now find themselves on the cusp of a second-round exit.

Jayson Tatum had a game-high 36 points on 27 shot attempts, including going 3-of-11 from deep, to go along with 10 rebounds and five assists.
"I think we just didn't have it today," Tatum said during his postgame comments after the C's heard loud boos from the Garden faithful throughout the night.
Jaylen Brown netted 24 points on 9-of-16 from the floor and 3-of-6 from behind the arc and Marcus Smart chipped in 14 points, as he hit 8-of-10 free throws for the Celtics.
"If you're not willing to get dirty, if you're not willing to pretty much bleed, if you're not willing to break something -- going hard -- then you shouldn't be on that court," Smart said to reporters following the loss. "Because that's what it is. That's what the playoffs are about."
Tatum once again started off slow, missing his first six attempts, before finally hitting a floater with 5:48 remaining in the second quarter. Boston trailed by as many as 15 in the first half, but used a 10-0 run to cut the deficit to single-digits (58-49) by the break.

The Sixers more than doubled their lead to 19 in the third period -- Philly's largest margin of the series up to that point -- as they took an 88-72 advantage into the final frame.

The Celtics showed some sort of life to start the fourth to get within 11 (92-81) with 9:44 left, but Philly responded with a 10-2 spurt of their own. Maxey hit his sixth 3-pointer to give the 76ers the largest lead of the night (113-92), as C's head coach Joe Mazzulla emptied his bench with 3:57 left to play.
"That was our first really, really bad game in the playoffs," said Mazzulla. "I didn't think we got off to a good start and they did… I thought we had some really good looks that just didn't fall."
The Celtics find themselves in the same predicament as a season ago when they also trailed 3-2 to the Milwaukee Bucks in the East semis. They'll look to overcome the same series deficit and force another Game 7 when they head back to Philadelphia.

Game 6 is scheduled for a 7:30 ET tip-off on ESPN Thursday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Game Notes:

Boston was only 39.8% from the field, including 12-of-38 (31.6%) from 3-point territory, while the 76ers hit 50.6% from the floor and 12-of-30 (40%) from long distance. The Celtics were out-rebounded 49-36, but both teams scored 36 points in the paint respectively. The C's dished out 21 assists (eight turnovers) on 33 baskets and Philly had 20 dimes (13 turnovers) on 40 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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