Boston – Throughout his career, joel embied has never been in the position he found himself on Tuesday night: one win away from moving past Boston Celtics – and in the Eastern Conference Finals – for the first time in his career.
But when asked how it felt to be in that position after scoring 33 points to go along with 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 blocked shots. Philadelphia‘S 115-103 Following the win over Boston in Game 5 of this Eastern Conference semifinal series at TD Garden, the NBA’s newly named Most Valuable Player had no interest in discussing it.
“I honestly don’t care,” Embiid said. “We still have to get one more, and I’m thinking about it right now. And then, obviously, you’re going home, so you’ll have a lot of energy in the crowd, and I think everybody plays better.” Is.” Even at home, I play better at home.
“What we did tonight… easier said than done, but we got to do it again, and I’m excited for it.”
The 76ers are hitting the road and winning for the second time in this series – relatively easy, by playoff standards. Philadelphia shot 50% from the field, 40% from 3-point range, took care of the ball (before a series of goofy turnovers in the dying minutes of the game) and looked to its stars— Embiid, james harden (17 points, 8 rebounds, 10 assists) controlled the game.
That, coupled with a 30-point burst tyreese maxi And limiting the Celtics to 39.8% shooting overall and 12-for-38 (31.6%) from 3-point range was enough for the 76ers to gain control of the game in the first quarter and never relinquish the lead.
Instead of the lead ebbing and flowing as had happened in Game 4, Philadelphia quickly pushed the lead back into double digits to start the third quarter, and Boston never led by more than 11 in the fourth quarter.
“Throughout the game we held steady,” Embiid said. “So I think it’s a big change from the last game, which I’m very happy about. If you’re that high, you’ve got to keep finding ways to grow.” [the lead]Instead of giving them the opportunity to believe in themselves.
“I thought we were close tonight to make sure we really didn’t give them a chance.”
As Embiid noted, Philadelphia’s performance was very different from Game 4, when the 76ers blew a 16-point lead in the second half and allowed Boston to take a 5-point lead late in the fourth quarter.
In this game, the 76ers were focused from the jump, with Harden and Embiid efficiently running the pick-and-roll in a way they had not been able to do earlier in the series – something 76ers coach Doc Rivers attributed to the vacancy. While Harden himself accounted for half of the 76ers’ 20 assists.
“I thought James was a magician tonight,” Rivers said. “He called a perfect game. He was aggressive in the beginning when he needed to be aggressive and then he sat back and played and included everyone else. I thought he was incredible.”
Embiid was also disciplined from the opening moments of the game. After he — by his own admission — ran out of energy in the latter stages of Game 4, Embiid was measured in his movements from the start of Game 5, trying to make sure he had enough energy for everyone. Energy will be the way to the end.
And, when he emphatically a jaylen brown The layup — when Brown stole the ball from Embiid on the other end — midway through the fourth quarter, was the exclamation point on his performance.
“He’s playing,” Tucker said. “He’s doing what he should be doing.
“He’s the MVP. That’s what he does. That’s what we expect from him. When he’s aggressive, he’s vocal, we’re a tough team.”
The same can be said when Maxi — who Embiid said earlier should take “12 to 14” 3-pointers a game in this series — going with Embiid and Harden. And that certainly was the case in this case, as he had 30 points on 6-for-12 shooting from 3-point range, while tobias harris — despite being dogged by foul trouble all night — finished with 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting to go along with 11 rebounds.
“Ball movement,” Rivers said, when asked what’s driving Maxi. “The ball went side to side. You think about it, he had three or four point-blank 3s because of his rotation.
“With him and Tobias, it’s a barometer for us. If Tobias and Maxi are involved, it means the ball is moving. If Tobias and Maxi are not involved, it means the ball is not moving, And the ball moved today.”
Because it did, Philadelphia moved within a game of advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time. Allen Iverson Led the 76ers to the NBA Finals in 2001, while also coming one win closer to capturing the franchise’s first championship in 40 years.
But while it was an upbeat and energetic 76ers locker room postgame, Embiid’s message about the need to stay focused to get another win echoed throughout the room, as Rivers and the players drove home the same theme. That’s the hardest win to get in. This series is the one that has yet to be achieved.
“We’re up 3-2,” Rivers said. “Okay? That’s it. We’ve got to get our rest, and we’ve got to be ready because they’re going to come in and play great, and we’ve got to be able to keep it up and still win the game.”