When the Eastern Conference semifinals began, we all thought the Boston Celtics would take care of business against the Philadelphia 76ers.
It made sense, right? The Celtics took care go Philly pretty handedly in the regular season, winning three of four games. Then in game one, Joel Embiid was out with his knee problems.
It was all set up for a quick and pain-free series for the Celtics, right? Wrong!
The Boston Celtics fell to the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday night by way of a 115-103 defeat. With that loss, the Celtics are one loss away from being knocked out of the playoffs.
But fear not Celtics fans! I am here to tell you all that there are ways for the Celtics to make adjustments and still win this series.
Boston Celtics getting better starts from Jayson Tatum
Jayson Tatum has been a huge reason for the back to back losses in games four and five of this series. His shooting in the first quarter has been atrocious.
How atrocious you may ask? Take a look at this.
Not exactly what you want to see from your superstar! Tatum has gotten off to horrendously slow starts in each of the last two games. The result? Two straight losses.
You have to get Jayson Tatum going faster in game six. Get him some easy looks at the basket. Set as many screens as you need to against Philly’s defense. Whatever you have to do, do it!
If Tatum has another slow start in Game 6, don’t be surprised if the Boston Celtics season ends Thursday night in Philadelphia.
Boston Celtics getting more from their role players
Starters not named Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined to shoot 4-20 from the field. Al Horford had one of the worst games I’ve ever seen him play: 0-7 from the field and 0-7 from three. That won’t get it done.
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The Celtics need to get some more production from everyone else. Derrick White hasn’t looked like himself the whole series. Rob Williams really hasn’t done much to be happy with against Philly’s big men. You just need more.
You saw what happened for Philly when a guy like Tyrese Maxey has a big game. Who is going to be that guy for the Celtics? Maybe Al? Grant Williams? I get the feeling somebody steps up big time next game.
Boston Celtics double-teaming the 76ers more
Double team James Harden and Joel Embiid more. But don’t just double team them. Double them out on the perimeter!
When the Celtics have done this, we’ve seen how careless Philadelphia can be with the basketball. But do it more! Make Embiid and Harden commit turnovers and then run in transition for easy baskets.
Now I understand that you can’t double all of the time. But when the situations present themselves, take advantage of it. Make Maxey beat you (again), or a guy like PJ Tucker beat you. If they do, then it wasn’t meant to be anyway.
The bottom line with the Boston Celtics still in the series against the 76ers
The Celtics can still pull this series off in seven games. But it’s going to take everyone to do it and they can’t make anymore game-deciding mistakes.
It’s Milwaukee from last year all over again. One game on the road to get it back home for a Game 7!
Hopefully, Joe Mazzulla has his team ready to play Thursday night. Otherwise, we could be talking about the off-season a lot sooner than we all expected. Please win Thursday!