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.