Careless play dooms Sixers
It happened swiftly and without warning. Five turnovers and a missed shot later, the 76ers’ four-point lead was a four-point deficit. The Celtics just kept going on the way to a 101-85 victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The Sixers lost their poise and, perhaps, their chance to win the series. They trail 3-2 and are faced with having to win consecutive games against a more experienced team to avoid elimination.
“They cranked up their defense and we got careless with the ball,” said Philly coach Doug Collins. “We did not meet the tenacity that team played with.”
Two trends continued in the game. The first was that the team that wins the third quarter has won each time in the series. Boston took the period, 28-16.
The other was that the team to win the first quarter loses. The Sixers took the opening period, 27-23.
Game 6 will be Wednesday night at the Wells Fargo Center, with Game 7 (if necessary) Saturday back at TD Garden.
“We have to recognize the Celtics’ second-half aggression,” said forward Elton Brand. “We know what we have to do. Hopefully, it can be corrected.”