Celtics

Celtics extend series lead with win over Sixers, 108-103

Celtics extend series lead with win over Sixers, 108-103

BOSTON – Leading by just three points with time running down, the Boston Celtics had to get a shot off. 

And there was Al Horford, doing what he has done quite a bit of in the postseason – giving the Celtics exactly what they need, when needed. 

Horford’s driving lay-up past Joel Embiid with 8.3 seconds left gave Boston a five-point lead, just enough of a late-game cushion for Boston to escape with a 108-103 win. 

Jayson Tatum led Boston with 21 points while Terry Rozier had 20 points. Horford delivered another solid performance, tallying a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds. 

The Sixers were led by J.J. Redick’s 23 points. Joel Embiid had 20 points and 14 rebounds while Robert Covington tallied 22 points. 

Boston now leads the best-of-seven series 2-0 with Games 3 and 4 coming up in Philadelphia Saturday and Monday. 

Following Horford’s lay-up with eight-plus seconds to play, Philadelphia’s Dario Saric scored on a lay-up, leading to Brad Stevens calling a time-out with 5.5 seconds to play. 

And with 3.4 seconds to play and a 3-point lead, Jayson Tatum was at the free throw line in position to put the game away with free throws. 

The first one took a high roll before settling in through the bottom of the net. 

The second was less dramatic … swish!

And as Philadelphia’s full-court heave was intercepted by the Celtics as time expired, Al Horford turned to the crowd near the baseline, patted his chest twice before heading back to the locker room with another strong game and most importantly, a Celtics victory. 

A Boston win did not seem in the cards based on how the first half went, as the Sixers spent the first half playing with a lead. 

Boston got back into the game with a 25-8 run to close out the second quarter and took its first lead in the third quarter. 

But the Sixers bounced back in the fourth and went ahead 93-88.

A Terry Rozier 3-pointer made it a one-possession game. He would tally a near triple-double with 20 points, nine assists, and seven rebounds.

From there, Boston began to string together strong play at both ends of the floor to regain control of the game and made all the plays down the stretch to seal the victory. 

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Anything is Podable Episode 6: The games behind-the-scenes

Anything is Podable Episode 6: The games behind-the-scenes

It’s hard not to be intense when Kevin Garnett is on your team. For the 07-08 Celtics, that fire extended beyond the court and into every waking moment they spent together.

Episode 6 of NBC Sports Boston’s “Anything is Podable” goes behind-the-scenes with the members of the world champion Celtics to get a never-before-heard glimpse into the games and competitions that brought them all closer together.

“Everything is about competition and we, as a staff, understood that early,” said Doc Rivers. “For practices, if there was no score, it was a bad practice. All you had to do was put a winner and a loser and the practice went from here to here. It was just that type of group.”

Whether it was on road trips, at practice, or in the weight room, everything about the team revolved around competition and an innate desire to win.

“Everything was competitive,” stated Rajon Rondo. “The boxing gloves came out in the weight room.”

As is the case with every great team, the bonding off the court was essential to finding success on it. Anything that could possibly be turned into a competition, was.

Arm wrestling? Check.

Push-upsYou bet.

On a road trip in Miami, Paul Pierce challenged Glen Davis to eat a large piece of bread in under one minute.

“Have you ever tried to eat a piece of bread like that?” Davis asked. “It gets dry. You can’t swallow it. It sounds easy, but people don’t know how dry bread is...I almost like choked and died.”

“You’re talking about a guy who loved to eat,” Pierce joked.

“I couldn’t do it,” Davis responded.

Competition off the court breeds competition on the court and, while the talent helped, little games like the ones played on road trips were vital to the Celtics achieving their ultimate goal.

Anything is Podable is a ten-part series diving into the story of the 2008 Celtics and their championship season, with exclusive, never-before-heard interviews with team executives, former players, and media members.

Narrated by Kyle Draper, it’s the perfect way for Celtics fans to pass time this offseason and get excited for 2018-19, a season in which the Celtics have as good a chance at raising their 18th championship banner as they’ve had since that magical 2008 season.

Fans can subscribe to the podcast through the link below and check out the other nine episodes for a look at this exclusive series.

Jayson Tatum on overhyped talk: 'I'll stick to my job'

Jayson Tatum on overhyped talk: 'I'll stick to my job'

A story earlier this week from Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes calling burgeoning young Celtics star Jayson Tatum one of the NBA's five most overrated players has expectedly ruffled some feathers in the Boston sports stratosphere. 

But Tatum himself is taking the high road. In a conversation with ESPN's Chris Forsberg centered around his recent workouts with future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, the 20-year-old forward, who finished third in Rookie of the Year voting this past season, said he wasn't bothered by the article:

While Hughes acknowledged that Tatum could be a franchise player, his reasoning for inclusion on the list was that he could be a victim of the stacked team for which he plays, saying, "Kyrie has never been one to take a backseat, and with him back on the floor, it'll be much harder for Tatum to build on his postseason takeover."

As for the session with Kobe? Tatum clearly absorbed a lot:

Hughes also named Warriors center DeMarcus Cousins, Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard, Bulls foward Zach LaVine and Suns forward Josh Jackson in the company of overhyped players.

It's been quite a week for Tatum, the former No. 3 overall pick out of Duke University. Earlier in the week, the St. Louis native had his jersey number permanently retired at his high school alma mater.

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