Game 3 of the Sixers-Celtics second-round series is on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN. Boston seems to be taking a physical approach with Simmons, effectively cutting off his ability to drive and create for his teammates. The Celtics have been equally dominant at the sportsbooks this season, covering in five of their six meetings, but have produced mixed results on the road, covering just once in their past three trips to Philadelphia.
Boston was the lone team in the regular season to record more road wins (28) than home wins (27), though they're looking for their first win of the postseason as the visiting team. I don't think I'll ever forget that. But, otherwise, just a hard fought basketball game. Averaging only 9.5 points-per-game on 40 percent shooting, the 21-year-old is out of his comfort zone. Simmons missed another two shots down the stretch as Boston outscored the Sixers 17-10 after the point he checked back in. "He said play the game I know how to play, that is just second nature to me".
Simply put, if the Sixers are going to beat the odds and blow past the Celtics, McConnell needs more minutes.
"It just so happens that it happened to (Simmons), and I expect him to respond back". LeBron only took one shot in the 4th quarter in what I call his Bermuda Triangle game. The Sixers came into this series brimming with confidence, with a bevy of young stars of their own and one of the game's best big men in Joel Embiid, but the Celtics keep finding ways to defy the odds, and rookies like Jayson Tatum continue to play with the cool demeanor of been there, done that veterans. The Celtics had run the Philly shooters off the 3-point line in the opener, and Coach Brett Brown's troops countered wisely.
Horford (1 for 3), Rozier (0 for 4), Brown (1 for 4) and Marcus Morris (0 for 3) were a combined 2 for 14 in the period, allowing Philadelphia to build a 31-22.
The Celtics rank seventh in steals allowed per game (7.2) while the 76ers rank 26th (8.4). JJ Redick led Philadelphia with 23 points in the loss. That's how they overwhelmed the Miami Heat in five games, and of the teams left in the playoffs, the Sixers are leading in three-point percentage at 41 percent.
Brown wouldn't leave the explanation there, as he compared the wall that Simmons sees to the alignments LeBron James used to get. "That's about it. You've got to look ahead, look forward and get ready to play". Our fans are really loud and engaged and they've carried us to wins with their energy. "I think he's going to have to learn how to play in these environments".
What areas should the Celtics improve upon before facing the Sixers?
The one area that will be a concern for the Celtics in this game will be their 3-point shooting. If the Celtics keep him running, it wears him out quicker, forcing the 76ers to adjust. But he also shot 8-for-22 last night (including 1-for-6 from downtown), got into foul trouble, and spent the fourth quarter ushering Boston slashers to the basket rather than challenging their shots.
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