Joel Embiid was presented with the NBA’s Most Valuable Player trophy before Game 3 of the Sixers-Celtics series, a moment which was a highlight for Embiid and the 76ers fans. However, things quickly took a turn for the team as they lost 114-102, with the Celtics playing harder and having a more exacting game plan at both ends. Although Embiid held the stage as the game’s leading scorer and rebounder, he would have happily traded that for a better outcome.
Boston kept the home team from getting much of a run at all, with the Sixers’ last lead vanishing with Marcus Smart’s 3-pointer in the second quarter. The Celtics’ intensity was dialed up higher all night, evidenced by Brown and Grant Williams both hitting the floor and leaving with injuries. Harden was struggling to get past Boston’s defense, passing up shots in favour of searching for a teammate. Although Boston only missed 29 of the 45 they hoisted, they found their range when it mattered most and countered blow after blow from the Sixers.
Embiid is not 100% recovered from his right knee sprain, making his current predicament daunting. He carried the Sixers plenty of times this season, but his teammates appear to be struggling offensively, meaning he’s now getting outmanned by Boston’s defense. The Sixers played their first home game in 18 days, but their fans weren’t in full voice, and the Celtics didn’t seem to suffer. With Game 4 set as a matinee, which is historically quieter than night games, things may only get worse for Philadelphia’s home-court edge.
In summary, Boston dominated Game 3 against the Sixers, playing harder with more exacting game plans at both ends. Although Embiid received the NBA’s Most Valuable Player trophy before the game, his team struggled against Boston. Harden struggled due to Boston’s defense, with some of his game now reminding fans of Simmons. Embiid is not 100% recovered, and his teammates are struggling offensively. The Sixers are having problems with losing their home-court edge and will need to change things fast if they hope to keep their season alive.