May 8, 2018 / 12:51 AM / 6 months ago

76ers dump Celtics in Game 4, avoid sweep

EditorsNote: adds quotes from Saric, Simmons and Stevens

Dario Saric had a playoff-career-high 25 points, and T.J. McConnell contributed a career-best 19 points and seven assists as the host Philadelphia 76ers staved off elimination with a 103-92 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 4 on Monday night.

Ben Simmons totaled 19 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, and Joel Embiid finished with 15 points and 13 boards for the 76ers, who trail the best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinals series 3-1.

Jayson Tatum had 20 points and Marcus Morris 17 for the Celtics. Boston won the first two games of the series at home before earning a 101-98 overtime victory in Game 3 on Saturday. The Celtics are 1-4 on the road in the playoffs.

No team in NBA history has won a series after trailing 3-0.

“We have nothing to lose,” McConnell told TNT after the game. “Our coach told us ... the team that’s winning (3-0) is 129-0, so we really have nothing to lose. We’re playing our hearts out and just trying to be that one team.”

Game 5 is Wednesday night in Boston.

The 76ers shot 40.4 percent (38 of 94) from the floor and outrebounded the visitors 53-43. The Celtics made 41.3 percent (31 of 75) of their field-goal attempts.

“After you’re down 3-0 (in the series), you come on the court and fight and try to follow the game plan. We did it,” Saric said. “We deserved this win.”

Philadelphia led by as many as 18 points in the third quarter and was up 76-65 after three. Boston couldn’t trim its deficit below 10 in the fourth.

Terry Rozier’s driving layup with 3:34 left in the third had the Celtics within 66-62 before an Ersan Ilyasova finger-roll layup sparked a game-turning 10-0 run for the 76ers.

Philadelphia led 47-43 at halftime.

Morris’ trey matched the Celtics’ biggest lead of six at 38-32 with 4:30 to play in the second quarter. Saric converted a three-point play on the next possession to spark a 15-5 Philadelphia run to end the first half.

“We knew this was the final opportunity to get back into the series and everyone is aware of that,” Simmons said. “The energy that T.J. brought was huge for us, and he stepped up. ... I think everyone fed off of that energy, we really took care of business and nobody was lacking. Everyone was picking each other up and playing together.”

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said of McConnell, “He was great. He was a tough guy. He’s a heck of a basketball player, and obviously, we didn’t do a great job of defending him and his impact was tremendous.”

Boston reserve Shane Larkin left the game with a left shoulder injury after colliding with Embiid in the first quarter. He did not return.

—Field Level Media

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