The Boston Celtics held on for a 114-112 win in Game 5, closing out the Philadelphia 76ers 4-1 in their Eastern Conference semi-finals matchup.
It was a back and forth affair on Wednesday night that saw 21 lead changes, the most in any game in the playoffs thus far. Boston showed their composure throughout the series as three out of their four wins came with the game being within five points in the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime.
Six Celtics players recorded double-digit scoring led by Jayson Tatum who finished with 25 points, four assists.
Ben Simmons/Jayson Tatum
After watching Simmons and Tatum in the post-season it's hard to imagine these two could be still playing college basketball. Both rookies have been impressive in their first playoff run, but Tatum was able to elevate his game to a level many didn't think he'd be able to on both ends of the floor in the series.
Tatum tied Donovan Mitchell for the second-longest streak of 20-point games in the playoffs by a rookie. Lew Alcindor (Kareem Adul-Jabar) set the record with 10 in 1970. The Duke product was there whenever the Celtics needed a big play - whether it was a basket, assist or defensive stop. He averaged 23.6 points on 52.6% shooting from the field.
Al Horford and Terry Rozier arguably had better series, but Tatum's consistency all season long has been a key reason why Boston managed to make it to the conference finals.
Simmons, on the other hand, will get the bulk of the blame for the series loss as he didn't seem to be able to figure out what Boston was doing to slow him down. After nearly averaging a triple-double in the first round, he average just 14.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, 6.4 assists and a round two high 4.8 turnovers per game.
The 76ers were a minus-63 when Simmons was on the court this series - Philadelphia was a plus-48 when he was on the bench. It's a harsh lesson for the Aussie and the young 76ers, but one that they needed to experience to take the next step.
The Celtics were the only team who had a better road record than they did at home in the regular season, but in the playoffs, TD Garden has been a fortress for Boston. They're 7-0 after closing the 76ers out on Wednesday. The last time they went 7-0 to start the post-season, they went on to win the championship in 2008.
This current team has a long way to go before they start thinking about hoisting the Larry O'Brien Thorphy, but having homecourt advantage heading into the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cavaliers can only boost their confidence.
The last time the Cavs played in Boston was Paul Pierce jersey retirement night - Celtics' fans know what happened that afternoon but with renewed confidence at home it could be the mental edge they need to compete with the King and his troops.
The 76ers led the league in turnovers at 16.5 a game. They escaped their round one series with the Heat averaging 16 a game. They were able to cut down on those mistakes against the Celtics with the surehanded T.J. McConnell in the starting lineup but the Celtics were still able to feast on the errors.
Boston averaged 14.2 points off turnovers in the series, a welcome sight to a team that at times struggles in the halfcourt against the longer, athletic 76ers.