The Boston Celtics dominantly closed out their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 7 on Sunday. The Sixers kept the game close in the first half before Boston ran away for the 112-88 win at home.
Going up against the league MVP Joel Embiid is no easy task, but the Celtics’ stars stepped up when needed. Despite winning Game 6 to force a seventh, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown had slow nights with 19 and 17 points, respectively. However, it was as if they lured their opponent to the ropes to deliver the knockout blow.
Brown had 25 for the afternoon, and Tatum set a record for the most points in a Game 7 with 51. The Celtics’ supporting cast also delivered, with starters Marcus Smart, Al Horford, and Robert Williams III scoring 31, 24, and 19. Boston’s defense held James Harden– who was 24.16 in the first six games– to nine points and Embiid to 15.
The 76ers have lost in the second round in five of the last six seasons, three of which reached seven games.
The men in green are off to their fifth conference final in the last seven seasons to face Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat. Historically the Heat has a 16-14 advantage over Boston in the Playoffs. However, this is a repeat of last season’s Eastern Conference Final, where the Celtics bested the Heat in seven games.
The winner of the East will face either the Lakers or the Nuggets for the crown. Game 1 of the series will be on Wednesday, May 17, 8:30 PM ET.