This Conference Semifinals between the Boston Celtics and the Philadelphia 76ers is a matchup we can look forward to for years to come. The entire series between these 2 teams all came down to the slimmest of margins and Game 5 was probably the best to show for.
The Celtics built a 9 point lead going into the half, only to see it evaporate in the third. The final 6 minutes of play was complete chaos, consisting of huge shots and gut-wrenching turnovers. The game was right there for the taking for the Sixers, yet, Boston held their cool until the end. It was all over with a Celtics taking the win 114-112, sending Boston into the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The difference really came down to the presence of Al Horford. An experienced, grown man, that has an All-Star confidence and skill which clearly shined through in an overflowing series of superstars in training. He outplayed Giannis Antetokounmpo in the first round and had the measure on both Embiid and Simmons in the second.
But there’s one thing I want to point out about the Celtics. This team hasn’t been produced with rotten or odd shaped pieces, these pieces are pure gold. Jayson Tatum was the No. 3 overall pick. Jaylen Brown, also the No. 3 overall pick. Al Horford, another No. 3 overall pick in the draft and Marcus Smart the 6th overall pick. Even their backup point guard Terry Rozier was picked 16th in the first round.
There’s a narrative that Brad Stevens has all the coaching special sauce to build this young team to near perfection, but I am skeptical. If any team had this kind of ‘back-up’ players, they would be winning into their Conference Finals too. But on the other hand, I fully understand it takes some special talent for a coach to mold these players and a front office to snatch up this type of talent.
Catch you Monday.