By John ‘The Dude’ Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com
Jayson Tatum dropped a team-high 21 points as the Boston Celtics erased a 22-point deficit to take a 2-0 series lead over the Philadelphia 76ers with a 108-103 win on Thursday night.
The Celtics jumped out to a 1-0 series lead over the 76ers following Monday night’s 117-101 win at the TD Garden in the opener of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the NBA Playoffs.
Celtics fans got some great news just before tip-off.
Jaylen Brown’s status was upgraded from ‘doubtful’ to ‘probable,’ after missing Game 1 with a right hamstring strain.
Jaylen Brown started every game he played this year.— Sean Grande (@SeanGrandePBP) May 3, 2018
This would be his first game off the bench since Game 5 of the ECF last year. https://t.co/gA0aDkEmUc
#NEBHInjuryaReport Jaylen Brown has been upgraded to PROBABLE with a right hamstring strain.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 3, 2018
Marcus Smart got the start again for the second game in a row with Brown out of the starting lineup.
The Sixers jumped out to an 8-0 lead after the C’s started the game 0-for-4 from the field.
But it didn’t take long for Smart to snap the drought with an open three with 8:37 left in the first at a loud and rowdy TD Garden.
Everyone was reminded Brown was back because he made his presence felt after he checked in for the first time with this great hustle play.
After the Bucks took a 10-3 lead, the Celtics responded with a 7-1 run to pull within one at 11-10 after a Tatum jumper at 6:02.
Tatum's stepback trey finds the bottom of the net! pic.twitter.com/NOfj5PSXJi— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 4, 2018
J.J. Redick and the 76ers came roaring right back with a 13-4 run, to take a 24-14 lead with 2:41 left in the first.
The Sixers then took a 31-22 lead into the second after shooting 50 percent from the field, with Redick dropping a cool 13 points on 5-of-6 from the field and 3-for-3 from deep in the opening quarter.
Philadelphia started the second with the pedal to the metal, as they’d go on a 17-4 run within the opening five minutes of the quarter to take a 48-26 lead.
But the Celtics started feeling it from deep, knocking down four threes, en route to a 18-3 run to close out the first half.
Brown caps off a huge Boston run with the alley-oop slam! pic.twitter.com/gMlc13foJk— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 4, 2018
With the C’s gnarly run, they were able to pull within four of Sixers at 56-51, to start the second half.
Smart scored 13 of his 19 points in the first half, as he’d go onto shoot 4-for-10 from deep in the game.
The Celtics erased a 22-point deficit to tie things up at 58-58 after a pair of Terry Rozier III made-free throws just three minutes into the third.
But Redick quickly responded with a three to regain the lead.
And guess what? Tatum went down the floor and knocked one down himself to tie things up at 61.
Then with 7:45 remaining in the third, the Celtics took their first lead of the night at 64-63 following a three-pointer from the one and only Aron Baynes.
Following a wile 50-20 run through two quarters (6:41 in the second), the Celtics held a 76-68 lead with just 2:24 left in the third.
Tatum rocks the rim with a baseline hammer! pic.twitter.com/g6gy851eko— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 4, 2018
After out-scoring the 76ers for the second-straight quarter, and a quick 10 points from Tatum in the third, the Celtics led 79-75 heading into the fourth.
Throughout the opening 4:30, the C’s and Sixers exchanged baskets, but it was Phillys, who would go on the next run to take a 93-88 lead with 5:48 remaining in the game.
The Celtics played the final seven-plus minutes in the bonus thanks to a boatload of Sixers fouls, including a handful from Joel Embiid.
During the C’s 16-4 run in the later portion of the fourth to go up 104-97 with 1:57 left in the game, Tatum threw down this helluva slam-bam that was worthy of a “KIA Cam” in NBA2K 18.
Boston maintained their lead down the final stretch of the game to finish off a, 108-103, win before heading to Philadelphia on Saturday for Game 3.
Six Celtics score more than 13 points, with Tatum leading the way with 21 points on 50 percent shooting from the field and from three, to go along with a pair of rebounds and a pair of assists.
Rozier III shot the ball fairly well, as he went onto to sniff a triple-double with 20 points (6-15 FG), seven rebounds and nine assists.
Celtics’ “X-Factor” Al Horford posted a 13-point, 12-rebound double-double, while shooting 55.5 percent from the field.
Brad Stevens on Jaylen Brown: "I feel like this series kind of hit him when he checked into the game ... But then he made some huge plays for us at the end of the game."— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 4, 2018
Brown (13) and Marcus Morris (11) combined for 24 points off the bench.
Philly’s sharp-shooting Redick, led all 76ers with 23 points and Ben Simmons finished the night with a whopping one point (0-4 FG).
Ben Simmons did not make a FG for the first game in his brief career.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 4, 2018
The last time an eventual Rookie of the Year did not make a FG in a playoff game was Jerry Lucas in 1964.
Lucas was 0-7 with 3 points per @EliasSports pic.twitter.com/ZDVRZSU43N
Embiid posted another double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds.
The Celtics finished the night shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three. And the 76ers went onto to shoot 43.5 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from deep.
Boston will head to Philadelphia with a two-game lead as they’ll play two-straight in Philly on Saturday and Monday.
UP NEXT: The #2 Boston Celtics (55-27/2-0) will head to Philly on Saturday night to take on the #3 Philadelphia 76ers (52-30/0-2) in Game 3 of the Semifinals in the NBA Playoffs. Catch the call of the game with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell, live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 4:30 p.m., with tip-off set for 5:00 p.m.
John Hardiman is a Digital Producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for John? Hit him up on Twitter @HardiDude or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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