(2) Boston Celtics lead series 3-1 vs (3) Philadelphia 76ers
Game 5 @ 5 P.M. on TNT
The Boston Celtics don’t have their injured assassin Kyrie Irving for the rest of this postseason. Nor do they have All-Star forward Gordon Hayward available either due to his physical woes. Yet they are one game away from burying a physically gifted Philadelphia 76ers team and advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals for a second straight year under head coach Brad Stevens tutelage.
NBA.com broke down the history that precedes this elimination game:
Having survived to play at least one more game, the Philadelphia 76ers continue to battle history when they visit the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.
You have likely heard this all before: No team has ever come from down 0-3 to win an NBA playoff series, with teams going 129-0 when leading 3-0.
More history? The Celtics are 36-0 all-time when taking at least a 2-0 lead in a series.
And the Sixers/Warriors/Nationals are 0-14 all-time when dropping the first two games of a series.
Oh, and the Celtics are 6-0 at home in the playoffs this season.
Yet, there may be reason to believe Philly can steal a win in Boston tonight. A starting lineup shakeup involving T.J. McConnell replacing Robert Covington seemed to revitalize a Sixers squad that has lost games in excruciating, dramatic fashion this series.
Per Liberty City Ballers:
The game we have all been waiting for happened in game 4: “The TJ McConnell Game”. As a result of McConnell’s 19 point, 7 rebound, 5 assist game, the Sixers were able to avoid being swept. Inserting McConnell into the starting lineup over Robert Covington was the right button to press.
Another adjustment the Sixers made was pivotting to a game plan that was more interior focused. The Sixers had 52 points in the paint in Game 4 — more than any of the previous games. Dario Šarić scored 25 points and had eight rebounds in his best game of this series. Joel Embiid had 15 points and 13 rebounds, and Ben Simmons poured in 19 points and 13 rebounds.
The winner of this series will receive the reward of facing the King of the East, Lebron James, in the ECF.