The Boston Celtics completed the first round series sweep over the rival Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday afternoon, and in turn, Philadelphia’s stay inside of the NBA’s bubble in Orlando has come to an end. The Sixers kept it close through three quarters, but forward Tobias Harris exited the game late in the third quarter after hitting his head on the court, and Philly — already missing All-Star forward Ben Simmons — was just unable to keep up after that. Though Harris eventually checked back into the game, it proved to be too little too late. Ultimately, the Celtics walked away with a 110-106 win, and they will now advance to the second round, where they will likely face off against the Toronto Raptors, as Toronto leads its series with Brooklyn 3-0.
Kemba Walker and Jayson Tatum led the way for the Celtics in Game 4. Walker finished with 30 points, four rebounds, and four assists, while Tatum had 28 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. As he did all series, Joel Embiid led the way for Philadelphia. The big man had 30 points and 10 rebounds, and he got some help from Harris, who finished with 20 points and five rebounds. In the end, though, it wasn’t enough.
While the Celtics will now prepare for their next opponent, the Sixers will enter an offseason full of uncertainty. The season was a disappointing one for the Philadelphia, marred with injury issues and underwhelming performances. The team underachieved by all accounts, and as a result, major questions exist regarding the future of many players on the roster, the coaching staff, and even the front office.
You can find three takeaways from Game 4 below:
1. Kemba Walker advances for the first time in his career
Kemba Walker never made it out of the first round of the playoffs during his time with the Charlotte Hornets, but that has already changed during his first season with the Celtics. Walker has already won more playoff games in Boston than he did in Charlotte (he won three total playoff games with the Hornets). Of all active players, Walker had the most career regular-season points (13,154) without a playoff series win. The opportunity to advance deep into the postseason was a big part of the reason that Walker ultimately decided to walk away from the Hornets and sign with the Celtics, and so far his decision has paid dividends.
2. Brett Brown likely coached his last game for the Sixers
Heading into the 2019-20 season it was widely believed that Brown’s long-term future with the franchise depended on how the Sixers performed in the postseason and, unfortunately for him, they didn’t perform well. The Sixers were swept, and even though they didn’t have Ben Simmons’ services for the entirety of the series, it’s tough to imagine Brown surviving given how much money the front office spent in free agency last offseason.
While some would call for a roster shakeup following an early exit from the postseason, the Sixers’ front office would likely look to install a new system under a new coach before making the decision to move on from either one of their young All-Stars in Embiid and Simmons, especially since Brown is the only coach that either has ever had since entering the league. Shortly after the conclusion of Game 4, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Brown is “without internal momentum” to return as head coach. But while Brown will likely be the fall guy, Philadelphia’s front office should shoulder a large part of the blame for the team’s struggles this season.
3. Too much Tatum
As he did all series, Jayson Tatum caused problems for the Sixers defense in Game 4. He connected on 40 percent of his attempts from three-point range (2-for-5), and he was also extremely aggressive going to the rim. His 10 free throw attempts are evidence of that. He was also extremely active on the glass, as he grabbed three offensive rebounds. Tatum’s 15 total rebounds were a career-high and showed that he could also impact a game in ways other than just scoring. For the series as a whole, Tatum averaged 27 points and 9.75 rebounds per game. The guy has already established himself as one of the best young players in the league, and he’s still getting better.