The Philadelphia 76Ers faced the Boston Celtics on the Celtics’ home floor in Game 2 of the other half of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. Earlier, LeBron James, in another dominating and transcendent playoff performance, led the Cavaliers to a 2-0 series lead over the Toronto Raptors with the series heading back to Cleveland.

Philadelphia, down in the series 1-0, looked to steal a game on the road in Boston, even the series, and have home court advantage in what becomes a best of 5 series with three of the remaining games in Philadelphia. The Sixers, with rumors already swirling around their offseason, rushed out to a 22-point first half lead only to face a five-point deficit at the end of the third quarter.

The Sixers would recapture the lead in the fourth quarter, briefly, before succumbing 108-103 on the road and a 2-0 series deficit. The Celtics were paced Terry Rozier with 20 points, while Jayson Tatum and Marcus Smart each contributed 19. JJ Redick led all 76er scorers with 23 while Joel Embiid had 20 points and 14 rebounds.

JJ Redick sparks 76er hot start

Redick opened the game three of three from the field, including two three-pointers, giving Philadelphia an early 8-0 lead and forcing a Celtics timeout with 8:49 to play in the first quarter. Boston would cut the lead to 4 on a monster slam dunk by Jaylen Brown but a Redick jump shot followed by another 3-pointer stretched the Philadelphia to 11 and the Sixers led at the end of the first quarter 31-22 with Redick finishing perfect from the field and 13 points.

Lead swells to 21 in first half, Boston rallies

Back to back Joel Embiid baskets swelled the 76ers lead to 16, 40-24, with 9 minutes remaining in the half. At this point in the game, Philadelphia was outrebounding the Celtics 23-12, including 9 offensive rebounds, turning the ball over three times compared to the Celtics 6 turnovers.

A Dario Saric three-pointer moments later would make the Sixer lead 21 resulting in a Celtic full timeout.

Philadelphia was scorching from the field, especially 3-point range, shooting 7/15 from three-point range in the first half, however, a 7-0 Celtic run cut the Sixer lead to a dozen and after an Embiid free throw, an Al Horford offensive rebound and 3-pointer by Terry Rozier made the score 54-44, Marcus Smart’s 3-pointer on the following possession cut the lead to single digits, while Jaylen Brown’s slam dunk a short time later made the score 56-52, Boston culminating the half on a 24-8 run and cutting the Sixer’s first half lead to 4.

Third quarter starts with scoring adjustment

A first half Marcus Smart 3-pointer was changed to a two-point shot, making the score 56-51 Philadelphia. Smart immediately responded with a 3-pointer making the score 56-54. Boston would tie the game at 58 with JJ Redick hitting another 3-pointer, giving him 20 points for the game on 4/5 shooting from long distance, with a Rozier responding 3-pointer tying the game again.

Boston would take their first lead of the game on an Aron Baynes 3-pointer at the 7:45 mark of the third quarter 64-63. The Celtics, without star guard Kyrie Irving, would extend their lead to 8 on a Jaysun Tatum dunk with 2:26 to play in the third and Boston would lead 79-75 after three quarters of play.

Ben Simmons non-existent, 5 lead changes

Heading into the fourth quarter, Ben Simmons had scored one point on 0/2 shooting with four rebounds and five assists in 25 minutes played. Philadelphia would tie the game at 79 on back to back TJ McConnell baskets with 10 minutes remaining in regulation and take the lead 82-81 on a McConnell offensive rebound on the ensuing possession. Jaylen Brown’s thunderous dunk following Marcus Morris’ three-pointer put the Celtics back on top by four with just under nine minutes remaining.

Three-pointers by Embiid and Robert Covington would recapture the lead for the 76ers 91-88 with just under 7 minutes to play. Terry Rozier’s easy lay-up past Embiid, playing with 5 fouls, followed by Rozier assisting on a monstrous alley-oop slam dunk by Jayson Tatum gave the Celtics a 103-97 lead with 2:23 remaining. Al Horford's layup with eight seconds remaining gave the Celtics a 106-101 lead and the Celtics would win, The series shifts to Philadelphia for Game 3, Saturday, May 5, 5 PM EST.