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Sixers vs Celtics Game 4: The TJ Game

The 76ers avoid elimination behind a career night from T.J. McConnell.

NBA: Playoffs-Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Not finished yet.

The 76ers avoided the sweep at Wells Fargo Center with a 103-92 win over the Boston Celtics on Monday night. T.J. McConnell got his first career playoff start and scored a career-high 19 points to force a Game 5 on Wednesday.

McConnell was given the start in place of Robert Covington, who had been struggling on offense in the playoffs. McConnell got off to a quick start, finishing with a team-high plus-5 in nine minutes during the first quarter. He finished the first half with six points, four rebounds and an assist in the first half.

The Sixers held a halftime lead for the third consecutive game but it did not take long for McConnell and the rest of the team to carry over that energy into the third quarter. McConnell added seven more points to go with three rebounds and four assists in the quarter to help push the Sixers lead to 11 points with 12 minutes to go in the game.

Philadelphia extended its lead to as many as 18 points in the final quarter and never let it fall below nine points. McConnell made nine of his 12 shot attempts and finished the night with zero turnovers in a team-high 39 minutes. The Sixers outscored the Celtics by 18 with McConnell in the game.

Dario Saric made sure that McConnell was not alone on Monday. The Croatian forward led the team with 25 points, shooting 9 for 17 from the field. Saric also added eight rebounds and four assists to go with a block and a steal. He made eight shots from inside the arc, which is more two-pointers made than any game this season for Saric.

The 76ers stayed cold from beyond the arc but the team used a dominant performance in the paint to pull away in the must-win game. They outscored the Celtics 52-30 inside the paint. The Sixers finished the night with 18 second chance points on 16 offensive rebounds.

Joel Embiid was obviously a big part of the post game. He finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds, registering his sixth consecutive double-double. The Sixers outscored Boston by 22 points during Embiid’s 35 minutes on the court.

With McConnell playing so many minutes, Ben Simmons had to play off ball for much of the game and the offense looked pretty good. Simmons found himself in the paint throughout the night and posted 19 points and 13 rebounds in 32 minutes. The rookie point guard was 7 for 8 from the free throw line and added two steals.

Both teams shot 26 free throws in a game with its fair share of foul calls. However, it was the Celtics that dealt with impactful foul trouble throughout the middle of the game. Marcus Morris, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown all finished with five personal fouls. Jayson Tatum picked up three fouls quickly in the second quarter but was able to avoid another one the rest of the game.

Philadelphia shot just 40.4 percent from the field. McConnell and Saric were the only two players to shoot above 50 percent on Monday.

The Celtics finished with higher percentages from the field and from beyond the arc, shooting 41.3 percent on field goals and 34.4 percent on 3-pointers. However, Boston finished with 15 turnovers that the Sixers turned into 16 points.

Stay tuned for plenty of coverage on the Sixers win and the rest of the series throughout the week. The two teams will return to action on Wednesday night on TNT.

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