No. 2 Celtics vs. No. 3 76ers - Boston leads 3-1
The 76ers will look to use momentum from their 11-point Game 4 win to extend their series with the Celtics.
The way in which the series has transpired makes it feel closer than 3-1. The Sixers blew a 22-point lead before losing in Game 2 and missed out on a number of opportunities down the stretch in their Game 3 loss.
In Game 4, the Sixers took great care of the basketball, committing just eight turnovers. Dario Saric led all scorers with 25 points, but it was the performance of third-year guard T.J. McConnell that made the difference for Philly. After being inserted into the starting lineup for Robert Covington, McConnell played in just under 40 minutes and tallied a career-high 19 points, eight rebounds and five assists. Look for McConnell to remain in the starting unit for the remainder of the series.
Both Ben Simmons (15 points, 13 rebounds) and Joel Embiid (15 points, 12 rebounds) posted double-doubles in the win and will be expected to lead the way for Philadelphia. The key to a Sixers win will be their 3-point shooting; the team shot 26.9 percent from deep in Game 4. JJ Redick (1-for-7), Marco Belinelli (1-for-3) and Robert Covington (1-for-5) combined to shoot 3-for-15 in the win.
The Celtics will attempt to close out the 76ers for the second time in three days. Boston is hoping to make its second consecutive appearance in the Eastern Conference finals with the Cavs eagerly awaiting their next opponent.
TD Garden has been a safe haven for the Celtics; they have not yet lost at home this postseason and were 27-14 at home during the regular season.
The injury-riddled Celtics were dealt another blow as reserve guard Shane Larkin is set to miss a considerable amount of time with a shoulder injury. Bench play will be a major factor in Game 5, as Larkin was averaging 14 minutes per game this postseason. Marcus Morris (17) and Jaylen Brown (8) combined for 25 of the Celtics' 28 bench points in Game 4, and they will need to put forth another big scoring effort in Game 5.
Boston's success could come down to its ability to rebound. The Sixers outrebounded Boston 53-42 in Game 4, pulling down 16 offensive boards and scoring 18 second-chance points.
The Celtics would be wise to run the offense through Al Horford, who posted a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds while attempting a postseason-low six shots in Game 4. A productive showing from the All-Star center could propel the team to a series win.