Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals will be win or go home for the Philadelphia 76ers. The Boston Celtics are one game closer to returning to the Eastern Conference Finals for a second consecutive year.
The inexperience of the Philadelphia 76ers showed up in the final moments of Game 3 in their best-of-seven series versus the Boston Celtics. A late steal by the Celtics’ Terry Rozier sealed the 101-98 overtime win for Boston, as reported by ESPN. It also likely sealed the Sixers’ playoff fates.
The Philadelphia 76ers now face a seemingly insurmountable task, as no NBA has ever come back from a 0-3 series deficit to advance in the playoffs. It is nearly just as rare for an NBA team to force a Game 7 when down 0-3.
When Game 4 takes place in Philadelphia, the Sixers will make an attempt to become only the fourth team to force a Game 7. Despite both the 76ers and Celtics being even opposition, it is an unlikely feat.
It was a costly turnover by Sixers’ star Ben Simmons in the closing seconds of the fourth quarter, which highlighted the initial signs of inexperience. Much as he did in the closing seconds of overtime, Terry Rozier showed active hands in picking off a pass.
Ben Simmons had his share of miscues in the Sixers’ loss to the Celtics. Many of which some 76ers’ fans may feel cost them the game. Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer points out that Ben Simmons’ blown slam dunk attempt as the possible turn of events for the 76ers.
Had Ben Simmons executed the dunk, it would have given the 76ers momentum as they looked to stave off the Celtics. Instead, Boston had some signs of life.
The odds will likely be in the Philadelphia 76ers’ favor in Game 4. However, if the Sixers want to win, it will take a better offensive output from Ben Simmons.
Defending Ben Simmons has been easy for the Boston Celtics thus far. What the Celtics have done is try to force Simmons to shoot. Without having any confidence in his jump shot, the Sixers’ star has become easy pickings for the Celtics’ frontcourt.
The Boston Celtics have alternated with Marcus Morris and Jayson Tatum on Ben Simmons. Their combination of length and muscle has oftentimes left the Philadelphia 76ers playing four-on-five. A better game from Simmons, along with the other 76ers’ players having their normal games should give Philadelphia a victory, forcing Game 5.