(Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports)

Horford Pushes Celtics Past 76ers In, 101-98, Game 3 Overtime Win

By John 'The Dude' Hardiman, 985TheSportsHub.com

The confetti popped off a little early at end of fourth quarter, as the Boston Celtics would go onto take a 3-0 series lead over the Philadelphia 76ers, following a 101-98 overtime win on Saturday night.

Boston flew into Philly with a two-game series lead after taking both at home earlier in the week on Monday and Thursday.

Most recently Jayson Tatum and the Celtics erased a 22-point deficit on Thursday for the win in Game 2, and Terry Rozier III’s 29 points propelled the C’s to a win in Game 1 on Monday.

Celtics head coach Brad Stevens provided this update on Jaylen Brown prior to tip.

Philly jumped out to a quick lead early in the opening quarter but it wouldn't last too long.

As the Celtics would go onto take a 9-6 lead with 6:38 left in the first after seven straight points from Jayson Tatum.

Boston kept the pressure on the 76ers en route to a 17-8 lead following a, 14-2, C’s run with 4:00 left in the opening quarter.

But the 76ers battled back to take a 20-19 lead into the second after a 12-2 run of their own.

It didn’t take long for the Celtics to respond with another run, a 16-5 run to be exact, as they’d jump out to a 10-point lead halfway through the second.

Joel Embiid came soaring through the paint and posterized Aron Baynes to give the Sixers a 45-43 lead with two and half to play in the first half.

Embiid’s slam-bam came during a 13-0 Sixers run, which led to a 50-43 lead with 1:45 left in the second.

With time almost expiring before halftime, Jaylen Brown brought the Celtics within three, at 51-48, after knocking down a wide-open three.

The third quarter wasn’t anything to brag about for both teams, who went minutes without scoring at times in the quarter.

And it was the Celtics who would go onto out-score the 76ers by four in the quarter to take a 69-68 lead into the fourth.

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Both teams continued to struggle offensively throughout the fourth, which included three-plus minutes of scoreless basketball.

After tying things up seven times in the fourth, there was room for one more after a wild series of plays in the closing seconds of the quarter.

With 4.7 seconds left on the clock, J.J. Redick committed a costly turnover with an irate pass, which was snatched up by Rozier and pushed down the floor with patience as he was waiting for Brown to create an odd-man rush so he had someone to dish to for the finish.

Following a Sixers timeout, Marco Belinellli received the inbounds pass and followed up by nailing the game-tying bucket as time expired to force overtime at 89-89.

Who doesn't love some overtime action in the NBA Playoffs?

Al Horford wasn’t all too “average” in overtime as he went onto take over the quarter, dropping seven points, with one of them coming off a tremendous in-bounds pass from Marcus Smart with 5.5 seconds left in extra time.

And leave it to Horford again to seal the deal with one of the biggest steals of the game coming with just 3.9 seconds left in the game on the Sixers on the final possession.

Horford would go to the line, knocking down both, giving the Celtics a, 101-98, lead before Belinelli missed a ridiculously deep long shot with time expiring.

AUDIO: Al Horford's Go-Ahead Layup in Overtime

The Celtics finished the night shooting 45.1 percent from the field, while going 10-for-38 from deep. And the 76ers finished shooting 39.2 percent from the field and 30 percent from three.

Philly out-rebounded the C’s, 50-49, while turning the ball over two more times than the C’s at, 15-13.

Tatum led all Celtics scorers, while filling the stat sheet with 24 points (11-17 FG), six rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks.

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Rozier finished with 18 points (2-8 3PT), seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. And Brown had 16 off the bench on 50 percent shooting in 29 minutes on the floor.

The game finisher in Horford went onto to drop 13 points on 41.6 percent shooting from the field, to go along with six rebounds, two assists, two steals and three blocks (what's up Embiid?).

Embiid posted a 22-point, 19-rebound double-double, with Redick finishing right behind 18 points on 3-of-8 from three.

The C's will look complete the series sweep on Monday night in Game 4 of the NBA Playoffs' Eastern Conference Semifinals.

AUDIO: Final Call of the Celtics 101-98 OT Win in Game 3

UP NEXT: The #2 Boston Celtics (55-27/3-0) will stay in Philly to play Game 4 of Eastern Conference Semifinals against the #3 Philadelphia 76ers (52-30/0-3) on Monday night. Catch the call of the game with Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell, live on 98.5 The Sports Hub. Pre-game coverage begins at 5:30 p.m., with tip-off set for 6:00 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 [email protected].

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