National Basketball Association
Boston 102, Philadelphia 94
When: 6:30 PM ET, Friday, August 21, 2020
Where: The Field House, Orlando, Florida
#48 Scott Foster, #4 Sean Wright, #61 Courtney Kirkland
The Boston Celtics made three key defensive plays down the stretch, enabling them to overtake the Philadelphia 76ers 102-94 Friday night and grab a 3-0 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round playoff series in the NBA bubble near Orlando.
Kemba Walker scored a team-high 24 points, including a key jumper with 1:05 remaining that put third-seeded Boston up by four and set the stage for a possible sweep in the best-of-seven series.
Game 4 is set for Sunday.
Joel Embiid led all scorers with 30 points for the sixth-seeded 76ers.
The 76ers led 94-92 after a pair of free throws by Embiid with 2:14 to go before the Celtics tightened the defensive screws, shutting out their rival the rest of the way.
Marcus Smart stole an Embiid pass that led to a clear-path foul on the 76ers. Jayson Tatum blocked an Embiid shot, and a scrambling Celtics defense forced a badly missed 3-pointer by Josh Richardson, providing the crucial stops down the stretch.
Meanwhile, Jaylen Brown converted a three-point play to give Boston the lead for good at 95-94 with 1:37 to go, Tatum made one of two fouls shots at the 1:23 mark to double the advantage, and Walker nailed his 20-footer to put the dagger in the 76ers 18 seconds later.
Smart added four foul shots down the stretch to ice the win.
Despite the fact that there were seven ties and six lead changes in the first three quarters, the Celtics held the upper hand for a majority of the first 36 minutes. They led by as many as nine in the first quarter, eight in the second and seven in the third, eventually settling into a 76-72 advantage headed into the fourth period.
A 3-pointer by Tatum with 7:45 remaining allowed Boston to re-establish a seven-point lead before Philadelphia quickly caught up and set the stage for an exciting finish.
Brown backed Walker with 21 points for the Celtics, while Tatum finished with 15 and Smart 14.
Walker and Smart shared team-high rebound honors with eight each, while Walker found time for a team-high four assists.
Embiid complemented his 30 points with 13 rebounds. Richardson and Shake Milton added 17 points apiece, while Tobias Harris notched 15 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
--Field Level Media
Top Game Performances
Kemba Walker 24
Joel Embiid 30
Kemba Walker 4
Tobias Harris 4
Marcus Smart 8
Tobias Harris 15
Jaylen Brown 8
||Free Throws Made
Joel Embiid 14
Marcus Smart 3
Josh Richardson 2
Jayson Tatum 4
Al Horford 2
Team Stats Summary
Philadelphia will play their next game at home against Boston. The 76ers have a W/L % of .659 after a win and .500 after a loss.
Boston will play their next game on the road against Philadelphia. The Celtics have a W/L % of .688 after a win and .625 after a loss.