Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid had a touching moment before the start of Game 3 against the Boston Celtics. Embiid received his MVP award before the game and teared up while holding his son Arthur in his arms as he addressed the Philadelphia crowd.
The Celtics were not affected by the display. Boston spoiled the moment for Embiid and the 76ers, winning Game 3 114-102 to take a 2-1 series lead.
Embiid’s pregame moment was touching, but the Celtics came out emotional early, taking a 14-4 lead in the first few minutes of the game. The 76ers didn’t find their shot until five minutes into the quarter. With 4:39 left in the quarter, D’Anthony Melton was fouled and made both free-throw attempts. The 76ers went on an 11-0 run to take a 1-point lead into the second quarter despite an early deficit.
After trading baskets early in the second quarter, the Celtics began to pull away just before halftime. Jaylen Brown scored 9 of his 23 points in the final six minutes of the quarter.
While Brown was impressive during the contest, Jayson Tatum led Boston with 27 points and added 10 rebounds.
Hours after defending his 3-point shooting, Al Horford let his stats do the talking. Horford dropped 17 points and shot 5-of-7 from beyond the arc.
The Celtics let that momentum come out at halftime. Brown scored 11 points in the third quarter to help extend the Celtics’ lead to 14 heading into the final quarter.
After hitting his first shot of the game, 76ers guard James Harden missed his next 10. attempts. With the 76ers in need of offensive help, Harden took just two shots in the third quarter and missed both. Harden finished with 16 points, 8 of which came on free-throw attempts. He went just 3-for-14 from the field and finally scored his second basket with less than five minutes to play.
After exploding for 45 points during Philadelphia’s Game 1 win, Harden scored just 28 points in Games 2 and 3.
After being limited to 15 points in Game 2, he tried to put 76 on his back at times in Game 3. Embiid played 39 minutes, which he feels is fine after missing Game 1 with a sprained right knee. Embiid added 13 rebounds and 4 blocks in the loss.
The 76ers made one final push to close the gap in the fourth quarter. Georges Niang made a big impact off the bench, scoring 7 straight points early in the final quarter. Every time it got closer to Philadelphia, Boston seemed to have an answer. Malcolm Brockton answered with a 3-pointer of his own to extend the Celtics’ lead when Melton hit a 3 with 5:45 left to cut the 76ers’ deficit to 5 points.
It proved insurmountable, as Boston pulled away late to win. Philadelphia will even the series in Game 4 on Sunday in Philadelphia (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).