Al Horford had no use for the premature celebration that showered confetti all over the 76ers’ home court at the end of regulation http://www.washingtonredskinsteamonline.com/ryan-anderson-jersey , delaying overtime and prompting an impromptu cleanup job.
Turns out, Horford has the Celtics just a game away from a real sweep.
Horford scored the go-ahead basket for Boston late in overtime in a wild Game 3 where the Philadelphia 76ers were sloppy with the basketball and the confetti, leading the Celtics to a 101-98 victory and a 3-0 series lead on Saturday night.
”These are the kind of moments you want to be in as a basketball player,” Horford said.
He saw some wild ones down the stretch.
Marco Belinelli had hit a buzzer-beater to end the fourth quarter that sent the Sixers into a wild celebration on the court as confetti shot out of a cannon that made it rain over chunks of the arena.
Game 3 was only headed into OT.
”I wanted to play right away,” Horford said. ”I didn’t care about the confetti.”
The tale of the (ticker) tape shows the Celtics are still the team to beat.
The Celtics, who rallied from a 22-point deficit to beat the 76ers 108-103 in Game 2, can advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the second straight season on Monday.
The ending to regulation was about as wild as it gets for both teams. JJ Redick threw away the basketball on an errant pass to no one that was scooped by Terry Rozier who threw to Jaylen Brown for the basket and an 89-87 lead.
Seconds later, Belinelli stunned everyone with a falling 22-footer in front of the 76ers bench as time expired that sent the game into overtime – and confetti mistakenly blasted from the cannon. There was about a seven-minute delay while team employees scrambled to clean up the mess on the court. Some players even scooped up confetti as everyone waited for the start of overtime.
Confetti Guy – wearing a ”Breaking News: I Don’t Care” T-shirt – pushed the button too early and the rectangular pieces were soaring everywhere.
Confetti Guy – who declined to give his name – came over to press row and said the Sixers ”better win or I’m done.”
Belinelli opened OT with a 23-footer and Redick followed with a 3 that appeared to take him off the hook.
But the Celtics wouldn’t let them pull away and Horford escaped for a layup with 5.5 seconds that gave Boston a 99-98 lead. Ben Simmons then threw the ball away after a timeout and Horford sealed the win with two free throws.
Sixers coach Brett Brown said he thought Belinelli had won the game with a 3-pointer.
”Walk off 3. I thought it was. I actually left the court,” he said. ”You come back on and there’s confetti. You move on. It slows the game down a lot but you move on.”
Jayson Tatum scored 24 points and Rozier had 18.
Joel Embiid had 22 points and 19 rebounds for the Sixers, Redick scored 18 and Simmons 16.
Horford hit the big shots in the final minute of overtime to silence what had been a rabid crowd. Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles rang the ceremonial bell and whipped the crowd into a frenzy. One fan waved a sign that said ”Philly Special 2.0” as a nod to the trick play called that allowed Foles to catch a touchdown pass against the New England Patriots.
But not every Philly team can beat one from New England in a big game.
Simmons, the rookie of the year favorite Cody Whitehair Jersey , had a miserable Game 2 and scored only one point and failed to score a field goal for the first time all year. Hall of Famer Allen Iverson called Simmons and gave him a needed pick-me-up.
”Just play the game I’ve been playing,” Simmons said AI told him. ”I know how to play the game. I can’t think about it too much. I’ve just got to go out there and do it.”
Determined not to get embarrassed again, Simmons scored on a driving layup less than a minute into the game.
”My goal isn’t to go out there and drop 30 every game,” Simmons said. ”My goal is to go out there and facilitate and get the best shots we can.”
He did it all in the second quarter when the Sixers looked every bit the team that ended the season on a 16-game win streak.
Trailing by 10 early in the second, Simmons had an emphatic slam to kickstart a rally. Simmons would make the highlight reel with a behind-the-back pass to a charging Embiid for a thunderous dunk over Aron Baynes. Embiid made the free throw and the crowd was going bonkers.
Redick and Dario Saric each hit 3s during the 13-0 run that helped the Sixers take a 51-48 lead into halftime.
76ers: The Sixers have suddenly become one of the hottest teams at attracting celebrities. Rapper Meek Mill, Questlove of The Roots, celebrity physician Dr. Oz, UFC President Dana White and director M. Night Shyamalan were all at the game, as were other members of the Eagles.
Celtics: The Celtics missed 15 of 22 3s in the first half and only attempted four free throws.
Embiid was just 2 of 3 from the free-throw line and believed he was hacked most of the game.
”I’m too big not to get fouled every time I go to the basket,” he said.
Coach Brett Brown endorsed assistant coach Lloyd Pierce as the next head coach of the Atlanta Hawks. Pierce interviewed for the job on Friday.
”It’s a no-brainer. I would hire Lloyd Pierce yesterday,” Brown said.
Game 4 is Monday at the only-in-the-postseason tip time of 6 p.m. EDT
The Chicago Cubs got some key hits and effective pitching to get a big win.
Jason Heyward and Addison Russell homered Sam Acho Jersey , and Ian Happ had a tiebreaking RBI double in the seventh inning as the Cubs rallied to beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-3 on Saturday night.
Chicago starter Kyle Hendricks (5-6) gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings, snapping a career-high three game losing streak. Brandon Morrow got the last three outs for his 16th save in 17 chances.
”We had great at bats all night,” Cubs manager Joe Maddon said. ”Had opportunities. Kyle (Hendricks) settled in. He’s still off a little bit but that’s what he can do even when he’s off. Just give him a lot of credit.”
Chicago trailed 2-0 and then 3-2 before Kyle Schwarber’s RBI single in the fifth tied the score for the second time. Happ’s double off Sam Tuivailala (1-2) in the seventh gave the Cubs their first lead.
Happ has three hits, including a homer, with two RBI and two runs scored in the last two games against the Cardinals, who dropped their season-high fourth in a row.
Heyward’s 410-foot, two-run homer in the eighth landed in the right field bullpen. It was the first career dinger allowed by Cardinals reliever Jordan Hicks.
”My hands have got to be free,” Heyward said. ”I’ve got to be able to use my hands and can’t try and hit (that 100 mph fastball) that with my body. If you try and do too much you’re not going to be able to make some good contact there.”
Heyward is hitting .383 (23 for 65) in his last 15 games, raising his average from .238 to .269.
”What was that a 99, 100 mile an hour fastball? He got to it easily,” Maddon said. ”He’s the guy that’s really ascended among the group. He’s made all the difference by hitting second and providing some big hits in the latter part of the game. He’s really good as the game gets in progress.”
Russell’s leadoff home run in the fourth tied it at 2-2 Adrian Amos Jersey , snapping Cardinals starter Carlos Martinez’s 47 inning homerless streak.
”Looking for something in the zone early in the count,” Russell said. ”I was really sitting on a fastball but I just saw it well and I put it out.”
Martinez struggled for third time since returning from a lat strain, giving up three runs and seven hits. He walked six, at least one in each inning, and needed 98 pitches to get through five innings. He was able to wriggle out of a bases loaded jam in the fifth as the Cubs stranded nine runners against him.
”Better, but still not exactly where he wants to be, obviously the free passes,” Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. ”It just looked more like his stuff, good life, just looked consistent, had some close misses.”
Martinez helped himself with a two-out RBI single that broke a 2-2 tie in the fourth. Martinez’ liner fell just short of the outstretched glove of a diving Heyward Reggie Wayne Jersey , scoring Dexter Fowler.
Marcell Ozuna’s two-run homer gave the Cardinals a 2-0 lead in the first. The blast extended Ozuna’s home run streak to three games and his RBI streak to a career-high seven games. He is the first Cardinal to drive in a run in seven straight since Matt Holliday in 2013.
”Winning is more important,” Ozuna said. ”If we’re winning and you help the team a little bit, it’s good. But if you’re losing and you’re hitting good, what is the reason for it?”
Willson Contreras got the Cubs on the scoreboard in the third on a sharp infield single that deflected off first baseman Matt Carpenter. Ben Zobrist scored from third on the play.
Cubs: RHP Yu Darvish (right triceps tendinitis) threw a 35-pitch bullpen session on Friday and is scheduled to throw another when the team returns home next week.
Cardinals: SS Paul DeJong (left hand fracture) underwent a CT scan and hit off a tee. He will accompany the team on its next road trip.
Cubs: LHP Jose Quintana (6-4, 4.09 ERA) is 3-1 in five career starts against St. Louis.
Cardinals: RHP Jack Flaherty (3-2, 2.96 ERA) has won three of his last four decisions and is making his first career start against Chicago.
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