With a little more than five minutes remaining in the first half tonight, Robert Covington drained a three, stretching the 76ers’ lead over the Celtics to 21 points. Philadelphia was in control here, with no signs of loosening their grip. And then they sent all of that to hell. Over the next quarter and a half, they crumbled, allowing Boston to take off on a 45-17 scoring run that set up their 108-103 victory in Game 2.
There were several pieces for Philadelphia to blame here as they fell behind 2-0 in the series—most notably, the disappearance of Ben Simmons, who scored just one point all night, on 0-4 shooting in 31 minutes—but there were several for Boston to cheer, too, and perhaps none was so important as Terry Rozier. After putting up 29 points in Game 1, he followed up with a similarly impressive performance, finishing as the second-highest scorer on the team with 20, just behind Jayson Tatum’s 21.
It’s the third game in a row that’s seen Rozier step up in a major way (he scored 26 in Game 7 against the Bucks), and it’s a pretty major change for a player who averaged 11 points a game in the regular season. After Kyrie Irving’s injury pushed Rozier into the spotlight in mid-March, the 24-year-old more than answered the call—taking advantage of the extra playing time (35 minutes in the playoffs, versus 25 in the regular season) and coming into his own.
Scary for the Sixers indeed.