How Joel Embiid’s Sixers Took 3-2 Lead Over Celtics

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers, NBA News
NBA Analysis Network

The Philadelphia 76ers were all business on Tuesday night. There was a lot of pressure heading into Game 5 on the road against the Boston Celtics in a series tied 2-2, but the hostile environment wasn’t anything new for the 76ers.

They pulled off a huge upset in Game 1 of the series without MVP Joel Embiid in the lineup. There was a quiet confidence among them after winning in overtime in Game 4 as the moment wasn’t too big for them.

The 76ers pulled off another upset, dominating the Celtics from the opening tip. Philadelphia won 115-103, taking a 3-2 lead back to the City of Brotherly Love where they can close out the series on Thursday night. Nothing has been accomplished yet, as the team remains focused on the next game ahead.

“It’s not over. We have to get one more,” Joel Embiid said. “All of us. We have to show up.”

Embiid led the way for his team with 33 points as the Celtics’ defensive game plan against him remains befuddling. He didn’t have his most efficient shooting night, going 10-of-23 from the field, but made up for it by going 10-of-11 at the foul line.

NBA NEWS & PLAYOFFS: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers & Boston Celtics Updates

The 76ers embarrassed the Celtics on their home court, as they led by as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter. It brought about some visceral reactions from the crowd, who were booing the defending Eastern Conference champions.

“What we did tonight, it’s easier said than done. But we have to do it again,” Embiid said.

The entire 76ers team stepped up in this one as they received strong performances from multiple players. Tyrese Maxey also reached the 30-point mark, outscoring the Celtics’ starting backcourt of Derrick White and Marcus Smart by himself.

Tobias Harris chipped in 16 points and 11 rebounds while James Harden was masterful running the offense. He scored 17 points on 4-of-8 from the field and 8-of-10 from the charity stripe, adding 10 assists.

NBA NEWS & PLAYOFFS: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers & Boston Celtics Updates

Head coach Doc Rivers praised the work that Harden did as the leader on the court. He likened him to a catcher in baseball who calls the perfect game for his pitcher behind the plate.

“You just have to breathe through it and our guys did that,” Rivers said.

While the Philadelphia stars showed up, the same cannot be said about Boston’s. Jayson Tatum had a rough shooting night, going 11-of-27 from the field en route to 36 points as he lived at the foul line, going 11-of-13. “I think we just didn’t have it today,” Tatum said.

NBA NEWS & PLAYOFFS: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers & Boston Celtics Updates

Marcus Smart, who scored 14 points with four assists, delivered a much sterner message to his teammates.

“If you’re not willing to get dirty, if you’re not willing to pretty much bleed, if you’re not willing to break something…then you shouldn’t be on that court,” Smart said. “Because that’s what it is. That’s what the playoffs are about.”

The 76ers have to be prepared for a motivated Celtics squad come Thursday night. Their backs will be up against the wall facing elimination while playing on the road. If Philadelphia can show the same composure and produce as efficiently as they did in Game 5, there is a great chance they will be advancing to play in the Eastern Conference Finals.

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About Kenneth Teape 3712 Articles
Kenneth Teape is an NBA Reporter for NBA Analysis Network. He covers all things across the league, including both news and editorial work. Make sure to follow Kenneth on Twitter at @teapester725.