NBA: Jayson Tatum powers Celtics past 76ers in Game 3

Jayson Tatum Jaylen Brown Celtics NBA

Jayson Tatum #0 and Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics celebrate against the Philadelphia 76ers during the fourth quarterer in game three of the Eastern Conference Second Round Playoffs at Wells Fargo Center on May 05, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images/AFP

Jayson Tatum collected 27 points and 10 rebounds to fuel the visiting Boston Celtics to a 114-102 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Tatum bounced back from a seven-point performance in Game 2 by making 10 of 20 shots from the floor for the second-seeded Celtics, who have won two games in a row to claim a 2-1 edge in the best-of-seven series. Game 4 is Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia.

Boston’s Jaylen Brown recorded 23 points and seven rebounds, and Al Horford sank five 3-pointers while finishing with 17 points and seven rebounds. Marcus Smart and Malcolm Brogdon each had 15 points and Derrick White added 13 for the Celtics.

Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid collected 30 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks after being honored prior to the game for winning the NBA MVP award.

James Harden produced 16 points to go along with 11 assists despite struggling from the floor in his second straight game for the third-seeded 76ers. Harden made just 3 of 14 shots from the floor on Friday and is 5-for-28 overall and 2-for-13 from 3-point range following his 45-point performance in the series opener.

Tatum’s driving layup early in the fourth quarter gave Boston its largest lead of the game at 90-77. Philadelphia countered with a 19-10 run to get within 100-96 with 3:51 left following an Embiid tip-in.

Boston scored the next five points before Harden dropped a 3-pointer. Tatum answered with a trey of his own with 1:42 to play to give the Celtics a 108-99 edge.

Harden made one of two free-throw attempts to trim the Celtics’ lead to eight, but Tatum and Brown each converted a pair from the charity stripe to seal the win.

Boston bolted out of the blocks by making its first four 3-point tries and 6 of 10 attempts from beyond the arc to take a 24-14 lead. Philadelphia countered by scoring 11 straight points and 15 of the final 19 in the period to claim a 29-28 lead.

The Celtics countered by outscoring the 76ers by a 29-21 margin in the second quarter to seize a 57-50 advantage at halftime. De’Anthony Melton sank a 3-pointer with five seconds left, and Horford answered from behind the arc in the final second before halftime.


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