PHILADELPHIA — Al Horford scored the go-ahead basket in overtime and the Boston Celtics held off the Philadelphia 76ers 101-98 to win Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semi-final on Saturday night. Box Scores and Video Highlights
The wild Game 3 victory saw Boston, the underdogs entering the series, taking a commanding 3-0 lead in the series and need only one more win to book a conference final place.
Jayson Tatum had a game-high 24 points on 11 of 17 shooting for the Celtics, while Terry Rozier added 18 points and seven rebounds and Jaylen Brown had 16 points and nine rebounds off the bench in the win.
Horford, who gave Boston a 99-98 lead with 5.5 seconds left in the game and then knocked down two free throws on Celtics’ next position, finished with 13 points, six rebounds, three blocks and two steals on the night.
“We’re trying to find a way, and this group is playing hard every night,” Horford told ESPN after the game, referring to the Celtics’ deep playoff push without injured stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
Marco Belinelli hit a jumper as time expired in regulation to tie the game at 89-89 and send the contest into overtime.
However, Philadelphia gave away the basketball numerous times during the extra period and paid for it.
Joel Embiid led the 76ers with a double-double with 22 points and 19 rebounds before fouling out in overtime after turning the ball over in the closing seconds of that period.
JJ Redick had 18 points, while Ben Simmons added 16 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, but had four turnovers in the game.
“A lot of (missed) opportunities,” Simmons said when asked about his own turnovers. “A lot of mistakes were made. It’s frustrating when you know what the mistakes are.”
Ersan Ilyasova finished with 14 points and seven rebounds off the bench and Belinelli ended with 12 as a reserve as well for the 76ers in the defeat.
The Sixers led 51-48 at halftime.
Game 4 is Monday, again in Philadelphia and the 76ers will try to avoid being swept by the Celtics.
“You can’t win all four at once,” Redick said. “Our focus has to be on Monday and extending the series to five games.”