Yesterday the Celtics were able to close out the series in a sweep over the Sixers 106-110. Kemba Walker received his first playoff series victory in glamorous fashion.
Walker finished game 4 with 32 points, 4 assists and 4 rebounds. He showed up big down the stretch. Offensively, Walker scored on the perimeter with three balls. Walker was also deadly throughout the pick-n-roll game. Despite the load management inside the bubble prior to the postseason, he’s been playing big minutes as he should.
“I’m more excited about how we played,” said the All-Star point guard in his postgame interview. “Even when we got down we encouraged each other throughout this whole series and it paid off“.
With the absence of Gordon Hayward, Walker was forced to step up on both ends of the floor. He was the floor general bringing the ball up the floor. On the defensive end, he held his own on the perimeter. Even at times when he was forced to guard forwards and centers, he played well. Not having Ben Simmons in this series was noticeable.
Despite Hayward going down in game 1, the Celtics rallied together this series. Game 4 began with the Celtics starting early in foul trouble. Just a few minutes into the game, Boston was in the bonus. Coach Brad Stephens made it a point after the first half to play “better defense” and to “not foul”. The adjustments worked after the Celtics ended the half down a point. Soon enough, they would jump out to a double-digit lead and didn’t look back.
Despite early troubles in the series, Tobias Harris was able to drop 20 points. He struggled due to the athleticism that Boston’s backcourt brings on defense. Joel Embiid was able to get the 30 points that he’s been averaging all series. Al Horford had his moments but only dropped 12 points. Defense from the Celtics was key in the second half. Especially after giving up 32 points in the first quarter. Daniel Theis and Enes Kanter did a nice job defending the paint as best they could.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown went for a combined 81 minutes played and 44 points. The two made big contributions as they had heavy assignments on the defensive end. Josh Richardson played as good of a job on Tatum. But then it was left to Jaylen Brown to knock down shots and score in transition.
The Celtics will face the defending champs Toronto Raptors in the next round. A team that is #2 in the east and is highly underrated somehow. Despite the undersized and thin lineup of the Celtics, I like their odds. The big deciding factor may be whether Hayward will be able to come back in time. Or if Kemba Walker is fully healthy. As of now, Brad Stephens has a lot of homework to do in preparing for that backcourt. But after this showing, it makes for an interesting series.
Featured Image Via Sportsbook Review