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Dublin: 20 °C Thursday 13 August, 2020

Celtics to meet LeBron's Cavs after series-clinching win over 76ers

The Boston Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers.

Al Horford.
Al Horford.

THE BOSTON CELTICS proved their toughness in a 114-122 game-five win over the Philadelphia 76ers to advance to the NBA Eastern Conference finals.

Down late in the fourth quarter, Boston used a 6-0 run to get back in front as they sealed a 4-1 series victory on Wednesday.

Playing without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward (out all season), the Celtics proved their depth by having all five starters score in double figures against the 76ers in Boston.

Boston will now face the LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for a chance to play in the NBA Finals.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens has had to deal with massive injuries at every step of the way this season, but he has always had an answer. Getting the most out of guys like Terry Rozier and Jayson Tatum at the most pivotal points of the campaign spoke as a testament to Stevens’ talent on the sideline.

In a league dominated by superteams and superstars, Stevens proved that old-fashioned coaching can still find success in the NBA. His next task is trying to find a way to slow down Cavs great James.

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It would have been easy to lay down and chalk this series up as a loss after falling behind 3-0. But the 76ers do not do things easily. Joel Embiid, despite missing all eight of his game-tying or go-ahead shots in the final minute this season – including two midweek, enjoyed another promising campaign. He scored 27 points with 12 rebounds and four assists in game five.

Dario Saric added 27 points and 10 rebounds, while Ben Simmons rebounded from a nightmare start to the series to score 18 points with eight rebounds and six assists. Philadelphia finally have a bright NBA future and should be back next season.

Jaylen Brown scored 24 points on 10 of 13 shooting on Wednesday, while Tatum added 25 points and four assists. Brown, a second-year top-five pick, and rookie Tatum look like a young version of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. They can both dominate a game, and they both make their team-mates better.

When Hayward went down in the first quarter of the opening game the season, many thought Irving and Al Horford would have to lead this team. But Brown and Tatum look capable of leading this team to the NBA Finals.

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