Death, taxes, and the Boston Celtics sending Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers home in the playoffs. Celtics fans have grown accustomed to this over the years, but it started back in 2018 in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
It was the first matchup in the postseason between Jayson Tatum/Jaylen Brown, and Embiid. We at the Houdini thought we would highlight Game 5 of this series, which is the first time the Jays sent Embiid out of the postseason.
The Boston Celtics would win 114-112, and the game featured many memorable clutch plays. This was also during a magical run that featured the Cs playing without Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.
The Boston Celtics sent the Sixers home in Game 5
Some background heading into the game is that the Celtics had held a 3-0 lead in the series, and they were in the 76ers heads. Many Celtics fans remember the iconic moment of Marcus Morris holding up 3-0 to Embiid with his fingers. Although the Celtics dropped Game 4, they returned home ready to close out the series.
The game was close throughout, and it was a tight game in the fourth quarter. The Celtics showed great execution as Tatum had a clutch layup, and in classic Marcus Smart fashion, he got the game-sealing steal. The C’s were moving on to face LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Now let’s dive into the main categories of our rewatch series.
Biggest moment of the game: Jayson Tatum’s clutch layup
Jayson Tatum was thrust into the number one option role in the 2018 playoffs, and he excelled as he delivered every time the Celtics needed him to. In Game 5 against the 76ers, he came up big in the clutch as he had a layup to put the Celtics up by two with a little over twenty seconds to go.
Smart made a great read and found him under the hoop, and then Tatum gathered himself and finished the layup to put the Celtics in front. The Celtics would not look back as they held on for the victory. The play is one of many clutch plays in Tatum’s young career.
Star of the game: Tie between Jayson Tatum/Jaylen Brown
Picking a star in this one was extremely difficult, which is why I’m saying it’s a tie between Tatum and Brown. Both Tatum and Brown were phenomenal in this game, and it was an early sign of how good they can be as a one-two punch. Tatum finished with 25 points and four assists, and Brown had 24 points and four rebounds.
It’s amazing that even at a young age, the Jays were always ready to be thrust into the spotlight and on the biggest stage. The lights were truly never too bright for them.
Winners of the game: The Jays/Al Horford/Aron Baynes
Besides the Jays, who were magnificent in this game, Al Horford was once again solid for the Celtics. Horford has been a steady constant for the Celtics during his time in Green, and in this game he got the job done. The Celtics big man finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, and a whopping five steals. Throughout Horford’s time in Boston, Celtics fans have never had to worry about whether he will perform in a big game.
Another former fan favorite is a winner in this game, and that is Aron Baynes. The Australian big man had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Boston Celtics, and he was solid defensively. The biggest play of the game for Baynes was when he locked up Embiid in the final minute of the fourth quarter.
Losers of the game: Joel Embiid and Semi Ojeleye
Joel Embiid had a good game with 27 points and 12 rebounds, but once again the stats didn’t matter. This makes Embiid a loser in this game because it has become a common theme in his career. Embiid continues to rack up great stats and personal awards, but he can’t seem to get it done in the postseason when it matters most.
For the Boston Celtics, Semi Ojeleye is a loser in this game as he played eight minutes off the bench and was a -6. He was really the only Cs player that played poorly in this game.
Impact of the game
The impact of this game is that it got the Boston Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals in the first year of the Jays era, which was an incredible accomplishment considering the adversity they faced in that season. The game was also a precursor to the C’s overall dominance over Embiid and the Sixers.