Boston 108, Philadelphia 103
Where: TD Garden, Boston
BOSTON – Terry Rozier had 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds to help host Boston erase a 22-point deficit en route to 108-103 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night, giving the Celtics a 2-0 lead in an Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Jayson Tatum had 21 points, Marcus Smart added 19 and both Al Horford and Jaylen Brown scored 13 for Boston, which also claimed a 117-101 victory on Monday in the opener of the best-of-seven series. Horford grabbed 12 rebounds.
JJ Redick led Philadelphia with 23 points, making five 3-pointers. Robert Covington finished with 22 points and nine rebounds while Joel Embiid totaled 20 points and 14 rebounds for the 76ers.
Game 3 is Saturday in Philadelphia.
Brown played after being upgraded from doubtful to probable before tip-off. He missed the Celtics’ Game 1 win because of a strained right hamstring that he sustained in Game 7 of the previous series against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Brown lauded the Boston crowd: “Man, I’ve never seen TD Garden like it was tonight. I think I’ll remember that game forever. The way the crowd got behind us before the half. That last five minutes, man. The energy was insane. I don’t think I’ll ever forget that. Like that was the moment to definitely remember. Game 2, Philadelphia, 2018. For sure.”
The Celtics shut down 76ers rookie star Ben Simmons, who scored one point on 0-for-4 shooting from the floor. Simmons had seven assists and five rebounds but committed five turnovers.
Asked what the Celtics did to slow him, Simmons said, “I think it was really what I did to myself. I think mentally, I was thinking too much, overthinking the plays. I was not out there flowing, playing the way I play, which is free. Obviously, they have a game plan, and I think I know what that game plan is. But I just gotta play my game.”
Boston led 79-75 entering the fourth.
Covington’s 3-pointer with 9:46 remaining restored the 76ers’ lead at 82-81, and the teams went back-and-forth down the stretch.
The Celtics took the lead for good on Marcus Morris’ trey, making it 96-95, with 4:13 to go. Boston ended the game on a 12-8 run after that, leading by as many as seven in the last two minutes.
Boston closed the first half on a 21-5 surge to trim the Philadelphia lead, once up to 22 in the second quarter, to 56-51 at the break.
Rozier tied the game at 58 with his two free throws with 8:51 on the clock in the third quarter, and an Aron Baynes 3-pointer at 7:45 gave the Celtics their first lead at 64-63.
Tatum’s dunk with 2:24 left in the third capped a 50-20 run for Boston, putting the hosts up 76-68.
Philadelphia opened the game on an 8-0 run before Smart’s corner 3-pointer with 8:37 left in the first put Boston on the board.
Brown checked in for the first time with 7:14 to play in the first. His thunderous dunk with 6:39 on the clock got the crowd on its feet and brought the Celtics within 11-7.
–Field Level Media