Will The Sixers Be The First Team To Over Come A 3-0 Deficit?
Heading into game 4, nobody expected the Sixers to be facing a 3-0 deficit against the Boston Celtics. Last round, Philly quickly defeated the Miami Heat in 5 games. Fans expected a similar outcome against the Celtics, however, the Sixers have been outplayed every minute. A blowout followed by 2 close games has raised serious questions from fans on the ability of the 76ers to close out games. The young roster of the Sixers might be blame or the coaching wizardry of Boston’s Brad Stevens. With game 4 at home, it will be interesting to see what kind of support the home atmosphere provides. In the history of the NBA, not a single team has come back from a 3-0 deficit, although Philadelphia could be the first.
3-0 DEFICIT? NO PROBLEM
During game 3, the 76ers had a few bad possessions down the stretch that resulted in their defeat. A blown defensive coverage with a few seconds left in the game allowed Celtics guard Jaylen Brown to take the lead. Philly shooter Maro Belinelli answered with a fading jumper to tie the game at the buzzer. The series might be 2-1 going if the Sixers played better defense on the previous possession. Philadelphia is extremely resilient, aside from their lack of playoff experience. The two dominating forces on the team, Simmons, and Embiid might be enough to steal a game back home before game 5. If Philadelphia can manage to capitalize on their best players and limit defensive mistakes, they might have a shot at overcoming a 3-0 deficit.
WHERE IS BEN SIMMONS?
After a dismal game 2 performance, where Simmons scored only 1 point, the Philly rookie is looking to finish what he started in game 3. A near triple-double with 16 points, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds almost put Philly on top. Simmons severely lacks a jump shot and his inability to score from around the perimeter holds back a 76ers team that is full of shooters. The Celtics seem to have found the answer for Simmons, backing off of him completely. When the point-forward touches the ball, defenders seldom press him outside the 3-point line or go over on a pick and roll. His lack of shooting slows his teammates down as well. At times the offense is stagnant and the Sixers shooters are not athletic enough to get open. This spells trouble for a team facing a 3-0 deficit unless Simmons can turn the shooting switch on, relieving some of the pressure of his teammates.
The Sixers tweeted this in support of their resilient nature:
Team's Trademark Resiliency to be Put to Test
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) May 7, 2018
Boston seems poised to win today’s game and move onto the next round:
Being up 3-0 doesn't get us to the Eastern Conference Finals. We have to win one more and our guys are focused on not getting ahead of themselves and finishing the job. pic.twitter.com/mUuNnIZDuo
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) May 6, 2018
CAN BOSTON STEAL ANOTHER GAME IN PHILLY?
While Boston is confident about game 4, it will not be a cakewalk. Philly nearly stole game 3 if it wasn’t for an Al Horford’s steal at the end of overtime. This says a lot about the impact of the 76ers home court advantage. Although the Celtics have a commanding 3-0 lead, the Sixers will do whats necessary to secure game 5. Boston guards Terry Rozier and Jaylen Brown seem significantly better at home, which could spell trouble for the Celtics. An elimination game is the hardest to win in the NBA, especially against a young uptempo team like the Sixers. This 3-0 deficit might be the spark the 76ers need to lead them to victory.
Featured Image: Keith Allison, Flickr