Unlike the unfortunate Toronto Raptors, the Philadelphia 76ers managed to survive elimination (at least for another day), following a home victory over the Boston Celtics, 103-92, in Game 4 of their 2018 Eastern Conference semifinals matchup.
Coach Brett Brown tweaked Philadelphia's starting lineup and it worked wonders against a sweep-seeking Boston squad, getting their first win of the series (3-1). But the roster change wasn't the only adjustment that the 76ers made and hoped to carry over into their next meeting on the road. FHM cites a number of factors that could help extend the run of "The Process."
Let TJ McConnell loose
The 6'2" guard logged a total of 37 minutes in the three losses, including an eight-point (4-4 fg), five-assist (+16 +/-) Game 2 outing (in only 17 mins.) when Ben Simmons scored a measly point. Once given the chance, McConnell went off for 19 markers (91-12 fg, career-high), seven rebounds, six dimes, and two steals, and ran circles around the vaunted Boston backcourt, particularly the best player in the series, Terry Rozier. He is also the reason why...
Ben Simmons played big
Simmons' numbers versus the Celtics (13.5 ppg 8.3 rpg 6.5 apg 5 topg) haven't stood out like they did during the regular season. Brad Stevens and his wards are doing a masterful job in using the 6'10" point guard's weakness—the lack of a jump shot—against him. But in Game 4, the presence of McConnell allowed Simmons to play his natural position and assert himself in the paint (14 reb) to compensate for his developing perimeter game.
Pounded the ball inside
Philly's deadly three-point shooting that doomed the Miami Heat hasn't really been as potent vs Boston—passed the league average for three-point percentage (36.2) just once (39.4% in Game 2). That's why seeing them take only 24.4% of their field goal attempts from beyond the arc (26 of 94) is an encouraging sign. Dario Saric visibly attacked the basket more, which resulted in his first 20-point outing (9-17 fg 1-3 3pt 8 reb) of the series.
Got physical with Boston
Joel Embiid (15 pts 13 reb) engaging everyone from Terry Rozier to Marcus Morris (Embiid said of his incident with Rozier via ESPN, "He tried to punch me twice. Too bad he's so short he couldn't get to my face.") Saric not budging to Marcus Smart's flopping. The Sixers should know better than to be a pushover after getting Heat-ed (pun intended). The intensity heightens as the postseason goes on, so expect an all-out performance Celtics in Game 5.