Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA: The Boston Celtics took a commanding 3-0 lead with a 101-98 overtime win over Philadelphia 76ers in their Eastern Conference Semifinals series, at the Wells Fargo Center, Saturday.
The Celtics are one win away from reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the second straight year. The Celtics go for the sweep on Monday.
All-Stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward haven’t played the entire postseason.
Al Horford was the game’s hero, not only scoring the game-winning bucket with 5.5 seconds to go, but clinching the victory with a steal on Joel Embiid in the Sixers’ final possession.
Horford finished with 13 points, while Jayson Tatum led the way with 24. Terry Rozier scored 18 and Jaylen Brown scored 16. Head coach Brad Stevens may have been the MVP, though. He drew two game-saving plays after timeouts for easy buckets, one to tie in regulation and the other to win in OT.
The ending to regulation was about as wild as it gets for both teams. JJ Redick threw away the basketball on an errant pass to no one that was scooped by Terry Rozier who threw to Jaylen Brown for the basket and an 89-87 lead.
Seconds later, Marco Belinelli stunned everyone with a falling 22-footer in front of the 76ers bench as time expired that sent the game into overtime.
Belinelli opened OT with a 23-footer and Redick followed with a 3 that appeared to take him off the hook.
But Horford’s layup with 5.5 seconds that gave Boston a 99-98 lead. Ben Simmons then threw the ball away after a timeout and Horford sealed the win with two free throws.
Game 4 will be on Monday, May 7, at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. If needed, Game 5 would be back in Boston on May 9. Game 6 would be May 11 in Philadelphia, while Game 7 would be in Boston on May 13.