Sixers

What you need to know for Sixers-Celtics Game 3

Sixers
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The Sixers’ 128-101 Game 2 loss to the Celtics on Wednesday was their worst postseason defeat against Boston since Game 5 of the first-round series between the teams in 2002. 

They’ll look to give a better account of themselves on Friday night. Here are the essentials: 

When: 6:30 p.m. with Big Philly Pregame Show at 5 p.m.  Where: The Field House at The Wide World of Sports Complex  Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia  Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And here are three storylines to watch: 

Searching for more from Harris 

After Tobias Harris’ 4-for-15 shooting performance in Game 2, Brett Brown said he thought Harris was in “attack mode” but just didn’t make shots he normally does. 

Brown on Thursday, however, raised a few specific ideas for how the Sixers can get more from Harris.

“I think that we can push the button more than we are on just running, getting out in open court,” he said. “I feel like that probably is the No. 1 thing. I can talk about trying to bait switches with Kemba (Walker) or trying to post him more or flare him to threes.

"I think he’s been doing a really good of attacking and getting to the rim, (he) just really (hasn’t) been finishing at the level that he is certainly used to. But I feel like the pace aspect and getting out into a cleaner, more spaced court would be the starting point.”

 

We looked here at ways the Sixers had success using Harris during the regular season. What Brown said about looking to force switches with smaller Celtics may be worth attempting to set Harris up with favorable matchups. 

Contrasts on full display 

We knew entering the series that the Celtics had an edge in several important categories, but there’s been an extreme difference between the teams in a few statistics through two games.

Three-point shooting: Celtics — 29 for 74 (39.2 percent) Sixers — 14 for 48 (29.2 percent)  Pull-up three-point shooting: Celtics — 14 for 35 Sixers — 4 for 13  Ball handler points per pick-and-roll possession: Celtics — 1.13 Sixers — 0.72  Deflections: Celtics — 32 Sixers — 9 

Boston did have advantages in all the stats listed above during the regular season besides three-point percentage, just not this wide. While the odds are high that the Sixers tighten up the gap in these categories over the next couple of games and that the Celtics don’t shoot as well as they did in Game 2, the opening two games have reinforced that Boston is a perimeter-oriented team with multiple skilled ball handlers and the Sixers are not. 

No confetti tonight 

The last time the Celtics had a 2-0 playoff series lead over the Sixers, Game 3 took place at Wells Fargo Center and was one of the wildest Sixers games in recent memory. Confetti fell from the rafters because of the impression that Marco Belinelli’s game-tying baseline jumper was a three, not a two. Al Horford scored the final five points of Boston’s overtime win. 

There presumably won’t be any of that chaos Friday in Florida.

“We are a team that really feeds off the home crowd,” Horford said Thursday, “and obviously we don’t have that here, and that has been very different playing here with no fans. You can look at it both ways. For both teams it’s neutral, and for us it's really finding that drive and that energy within our group. That’s what we have to do.”