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NBA playoffs: 76ers maintain off elimination towards Celtics

Video by CBS Sports activitiesPHILADELPHIA (AP) -- The chants for "TJ! TJ!" grew louder ...


Video by CBS Sports activities

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The chants for “TJ! TJ!” grew louder every time T.J. McConnell darted via the lane for a simple basket or buried a Three to construct an insurmountable lead for the 76ers. He wore a sheepish look as teammates rubbed his head on the bench in appreciation, the large second due on an undrafted guard who plugged a job within the early Course of days and morphed right into a shock postseason savior.

McConnell turned an eye-popping begin into the save of the season and Dario Saric scored 25 factors to assist Philadelphia stave off elimination in a 103-92 win over the Boston Celtics in Recreation four on Monday night time.

BOX SCORE:  SIXERS 103, CELTICS 92

“If I noticed a lane, I took it. If I had an open shot, I might attempt to take it,” McConnell mentioned.

Straightforward sufficient.

But the Sixers nonetheless face daunting odds headed into Recreation 5 and trailing Three-1 within the Jap Convention semifinals: No NBA group has ever received a collection down Three-Zero.

McConnell had a career-high 19 factors, seven rebounds and 5 assists in solely his second begin of the season and meshed effectively within the backcourt with Ben Simmons. The group chanted his initials every time he touched the ball within the fourth and he proved why he has been so worthwhile at the same time as larger stars have sliced his enjoying time.

He was simply what coach Brett Brown wanted in a must-win recreation.

“I can let you know the Philadelphia 76ers spirit is simply wonderful,” Brown mentioned.

With NBA groups down Three-Zero having misplaced all 129 collection, the Sixers might have greater than spirit to tug off this stunner.

Joel Embiid had 15 factors and 13 rebounds and Simmons had 19 factors and 13 boards.

Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 20 factors and Marcus Morris had 17.

The Sixers spent the second half in management in what could possibly be their final house recreation of the season.

Embiid was nonetheless within the combine in his masks, stirring it up with any Celtic inside his wingspan. He chirped at Marcus Morris within the third and the Celtics ahead flashed a “Three-Zero” along with his palms. McConnell buried a Three for a 14-point lead that might quickly make that mixture out of date.

The “TJ!” chants quickly echoed all through the Wells Fargo Middle.

“It was a reasonably particular second,” McConnell mentioned of the chants. “I feel now we have the perfect followers within the NBA. They have been right here via the darkish occasions they usually’ve actually been right here on our rise.”

So has McConnell.

Brown was determined to spark the Sixers and benched slumping ahead Robert Covington (Zero for 14 mixed in Video games 1 and three) for McConnell. McConnell had began 68 video games mixed during the last two seasons and served for example of the kind of participant The Course of was constructed on. He was an underdog, a hustler, a court docket basic averaging 6.5 factors that made him a dependable favourite for Brown. However Simmons’ emergence put McConnell on the bench, and with out grievance.

With an opportunity to shine, McConnell zipped inside for simple buckets, made the additional go to maintain the offense rolling and made the dive for free balls.

“How do I assist my stars be stars as a result of on the finish of the day that is what we’d like,” Brown mentioned. “That is my job.”

He turned to McConnell, that is how.

The anticipation of elimination and a 6 p.m. EDT tip sharply lower into attendance and the sport had extra of an early-season really feel till Embiid and Terry Rozier shook everybody up with pushing and shoving late within the first half. Embiid tried to strip the ball from Rozier after the whistle. Rozier tightened his grip and Embiid slapped on the ball once more. The 6-foot-1 Rozier shoved the 7-2 Embiid within the chest along with his proper hand and the 2 shortly needed to be separated.

“He tried to punch me twice. Too unhealthy he is so brief he could not get to my face,” Embiid mentioned.

Rozier and Embiid have been hit with Ts. Then they every hit 3s.

Embiid buried one which had the gang buzzing till Rozier got here proper again and hit his personal.

The Celtics took a punch — however they’ll nonetheless end it Wednesday at house.

“End the sport. Get it completed,” Boston’s Jaylen Brown mentioned. “Advance and do what we have been speculated to do.”

TIP-INS

Celtics: G Shane Larkin left with a left shoulder damage within the first quarter. … Markieff Morris of the Wizards was within the stands to assist twin brother Marcus. The brothers are Philly natives.

Sixers: Covington nonetheless hit the bench early within the second quarter with three fast fouls. … Missed 10 of 14 3s within the first half.

MAN DOWN

The Celtics could possibly be much more of a risk had Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward not been misplaced this season to damage.

“There’s not a coach on this planet that would not need everyone obtainable,” coach Brad Stevens mentioned. “I feel that clearly we might be higher with these guys. They’re superb gamers. Each unselfish gamers. However I actually like this group and people guys are nonetheless part of that.”

CONFETTI BENCHED

The Sixers scrapped their conventional confetti cannon celebration after it was prematurely shot on the finish of regulation in a Recreation Three additional time loss.

——

Extra AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

Associated slideshow: Better of the 2018 NBA playoffs (Offered by photograph providers)

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James shoots against Toronto Raptors' Pascal Siakam (43), from Cameroon, in the first half of Game 4 of an NBA basketball second-round playoff series, Monday, May 7, 2018, in Cleveland. 2018 NBA playoffs

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