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Ben Simmons has 'nightmare' game; assessing Sixers' collapse and more

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Jaylen Brown

Simmons failed to score a field goal for the first time in his career as the 76ers suffered an 108-103 defeat at TD Garden on Thursday to go 2-0 down in the second round of the National Basketball Association playoffs.

Philadelphia was far more assertive offensively in the first half of Game 2 than they were in Game 1.

Actor/comedian/Celebrity Game legend/Philly native Kevin Hart has been one of the Philadelphia 76ers' biggest superfans during their run into the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

When it was announced that Jaylen Brown was going to be able to suit up for Game 2 it was surprising to most.

Brown split a pair of Sixers defenders, darting after a loose ball, and threw down a one-handed dunk.

Then after a 5-0 run by Boston, the Sixers scored six straight points on 3-pointers by Redick and Embiid to take an 88-86 lead with 7:42 to play. The Celtics never took their foot off the gas, and now they own a 2-0 lead as the series shifts to Philadelphia.

With the game in control, the Celtics found a way to cut into the deficit and erase the large gap that the Sixers built.

Philadelphia has to regroup in a hurry and Brett Brown has to get his team to put their Game 2 meltdown in the rear view mirror. Give me the points. Game 3 tips off tomorrow in Philly at 5:00 p.m. ET. The rookie has been absolutely spectacular in his first playoff appearance, and not even a road game at the Garden should faze him.

The Celtics took their first lead of the contest moments later when an Aron Baynes (yes, THAT Aron Baynes) three gave Boston a 64-63 lead.

Much of Boston's strategy on offense stemmed from forcing switches, and finding a favorable matchup for Rozier and others to ISO out of.

In Simmons' 31 minutes of action, the Celtics outscored the Sixers by 23 points.

Four quick points from T.J. McConnell tied the game at 79 to open the fourth quarter. If the Sixers were to lose one of the next two games, they'd be forced to win twice in Boston to win the series.

The Australian, a newspaper in Ben Simmons' home country, ran a headline after the game that described Simmons' performance as a "nightmare". Simmons finished with seven assists and six rebounds, but just one point.

"We know it's going to be hard", he said around 6:45 last night. So Horford drove cleanly for a layup that threw an ice cube into what would become a 108-103 victory last night. Joel Embiid is averaging 21.4 points and 11.6 rebounds while JJ Redick is averaging 20.4 points and 2.6 assists.

His first-year counterpart, Jayson Tatum, continued to thrive, pouring in 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Terry Rozier made seven.

Between Rozier, Tatum, and Marcus Morris, the Celtics have players who are not known for their isolation scoring, but have that gear in them when they have a mismatch.

After the Celtics called timeout with 6:59 left in the game, with the Sixers up three, Brown had McConnell back on the floor.

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