Sixers stumble late in 4th, eliminated by Boston

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The Celtics have taken each of the first three games versus the 76ers straight up as underdogs, and they have also won six of the past seven meetings SU and against the spread dating back to the regular season, according to the OddsShark NBA Database. Teams have now gone 130-0 when leading 3-0. But records are meant to be broken, and someone has to be first-right? Wednesday's over/under is 203.5 after the Celtics held the 76ers to an average of just 99 points over four games.

Their No. 2 seed tells us the Celtics are exactly where they're supposed to be.

Game 4 saw TJ McConnell come into the starting lineup at the expense of Robert Covington, and the guard provided a great spark for the 76ers with 19 points on 9-for-12 shooting, seven boards and five assists. "I don't take these situations for granted".

"I'm ready to go now", Morris said, per ESPN's Chris Forsberg.

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The 76ers will need contributions from both of these players in game 5 if they want to extend the series.

The Celtics, trailing by four points with 1:37 left, outscored Philadelphia the rest of the way by a 9-3 margin.

But the thought has to have crept into their minds - which is the Celtics greatest fear: they do not want to be the first team in National Basketball Association history to lose a playoff series after leading 3-0.

Philadelphia outscored Boston by 18 points in McConnell's 39 minutes of action, giving the gritty point guard a team-best plus-38 plus-minus in this series. He came up with several clutch plays down the stretch, including a pivotal tip-in and assist as time was winding down in the fourth quarter.

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Marcus Smart made one of two free throws with 2.4 seconds left, and Philadelphia turned it over on the inbounds play to seal it. The crowd chanted his initials each time he touched the ball in the fourth quarter and he proved why he has been so valuable even as bigger stars sliced his playing time.

In a testament to Brad Stevens' coaching acumen, the Celtics are back in the East finals despite just one overlapping starter (Al Horford) from last postseason to this playoff run. He tried to miss the second on goal but made it, but then sealed the win for Boston by picking off Ben Simmons' court-long pass. Marcus Smart put back a Jayson Tatum miss with a minute left to tie the game at 109-109, and Tatum absorbed a hit and put in a layup with 22.5 seconds left to put Boston ahead 111-109. Boston was paced by the young wing tandem of Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who posted 25 and 24 points, respectively. Boston was unable to finish the job Monday night, and now the Sixers will keep the pressure on with a game 5 win.

Game Five will be Wednesday night.

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