The Boston Celtics were at home in Game 5 and feeling good about going ahead, but the Philadelphia 76ers simply went in and punched them in the mouth to take the 3-2 series lead. Now, they’re facing elimination on the road, with Philly snatching the momentum back.
Catch the game tomorrow at 7:30 AM, Manila time.
HOME: Philadelphia 76ers (3-2)
Projected starting five:
- James Harden
- Tyrese Maxey
- Tobias Harris
- PJ Tucker
- Joel Embiid
Game 5 saw the Sixers dish out their best performance of the playoffs thus far. They bullied their way right from the tip, led by as much as 21, played solid defense, and held on to a 115-103 victory.
Many wondered if James Harden will play like the all-time scorer that he is or if he’ll be passive, something that he’s done lately. He only took eight shots (4/8) for 17 points alongside 10 assists, but as it turns out, it didn’t matter as his two other co-stars took over. Joel Embiid had a team-high 33 points and four blocks, while Tyrese Maxey, who was quiet over the last three contests, fired off 30 points with six three-pointers. Heck, even Danuel House Jr. showed up as he chipped in 10 points in 15 minutes.
The Sixers are back in rhythm and will be playing in front of their home crowd for the potential series-clincher, so things are very much in their favour. However, take good note of all their recent playoff shortcomings, most especially head coach Doc Rivers. They have to know that they can’t slack off, and that going back to Boston can be a death sentence.
Philly is averaging 107.8 PPG in the series.
AWAY: Boston Celtics (2-3)
Projected starting five:
- Marcus Smart
- Derrick White
- Jaylen Brown
- Jayson Tatum
- Al Horford
The Celtics flat-out underwhelmed in Game 5. It felt like they thought the win was going to get handed over to them so they just waited for the silver platter. They shot a horrid 39.8% from the field, their lowest in the 2023 playoffs and fourth-lowest all season.
Jayson Tatum had 36 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and two steals, but he was only 11-for-27 and a portion of his production was when they were considerably down. Jaylen Brown was okay with 24 points, though he was an abysmal 3-for-8 from the charity stripe and those misses helped alter the momentum against them. Meanwhile, the group of Marcus Smart, Al Horford, Malcolm Brogdon, and Derrick White combined to shoot 7-for-29. It was ugly, and they can’t shoot worse or just as worse tomorrow, but who knows?
Now, despite all that, keep in mind that this same core was down 2-3 in last year’s conference semifinals with the Milwaukee Bucks, and they came from behind to take the series.
The Celtics are averaging 113.6 PPG in the series.
Handicap: The Celtics (-2.5) win and cover the spread.
Over/Under: The total hits the over (213).