Their hunt to become the first National Basketball Association team to fight back from a 3-0 deficit to win a seven-game series ended in Game 5 with a down-to-the-wire 114-112 loss to the Celtics at TD Garden Wednesday.
The Sixers then lost the ball on their next possession with 10 seconds remaining in regulation, setting up Terry Rozier for a pair of free throws.
In a game and a series that was often defined by grit and toughness, it was fitting that the play that led to the win for the Boston Celtics was Marcus Smart - a 6-foot-3 human statue built of brick and mortar - absorbing a post-up from Dario Saric, forcing a turnover and making a defensive stop that eventually gave the Boston Celtics a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
"Looking at what we did, we got a bright future". Now Boston has to head back home with the chance to close it out, and as Vegas Insider shows, the line on the game opened with the 76ers as one-point favorites and on nearly all sites it has already jumped to -1.5 in favor of Philly. However, Philadelphia trimmed the Eastern Conference semifinals series and deficit to 3-1 with Monday's 103-92 triumph at Wells Fargo Center. Saric and T.J McConnell had five points apiece.
Embiid (12 points), Saric (10), and Simmons (10) all scored in double digits in the first quarter, while McConnell had nine points.
"If we're ever going to do anything of any significance, we're going to have to go through the Boston Celtics", Philadelphia head coach Brett Brown said after the game. "The guy that should have won got it".
The Cavaliers and Boston Celtics will meet in the Eastern Conference finals for the second consecutive year.Game 1 is set for 3:30 p.m. Sunday at TD Garden, where the No. 2 Celtics will host the No. 4 Cavs.
Rozier was fouled with 9.8 on the clock and, with his new best friend Drew Bledsoe watching from the opposite baseline, hit twice.
The victor of the Red Auerbach Trophy as the NBA's Coach of the Year Award will be announced next month.
The encounter began when Embiid attempted to take the ball from Rozier after the latter was called for an offensive foul.
Celtics G Shane Larkin (left shoulder sprain) was unavailable after running into a hard pick in Game 4. That left the coach Brad Stevens with an eight-man rotation. Philadelphia had Boston's lead down to one, 83-82, heading into the fourth thanks to a huge third quarter by Embiid, who powered his way to 11 points and 5 rebounds in the frame. He finished with 19 points, seven rebounds, five assists and zero turnovers. By scoring 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting, the rookie made it six straight games with 20 points or more. He was afraid to shoot in Game 2-he took just four field goals and scored one point-and made key mental errors that cost Philly Game 3.