Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics defends Ben Simmons.
Marcus Smart of the Boston Celtics defends Ben Simmons.

‘Ben Simmons blew that game’

THE Philadelphia 76ers have been served a slice of humble pie after blasting back into Game Three to send their must-win clash against the Boston Celtics to overtime.

The home side levelled the score on the fourth quarter buzzer via a stunning jumper from Marco Belinelli, but their hopes of stealing a win were silenced as the Celtics surged back for a 101-98 to leave the Eastern Conference semifinal series at 3-0.

Aussie Sixers star Ben Simmons sunk 16 points and racked up eight rebounds and eight assists, while teammate Joel Embiid topped the list for Philly with 22 points, 20 rebounds and two assists.

Philadelphia shot out of the gates in overtime with saviour Marco Belinelli pulling off another jumper to put the home side ahead. J. J. Redick followed suit with a two before Al Horford slotted a timely three-pointer for the Celtics.

Ben Simmons joined the fray, weaving through the scattered Celtics to sink two points and see the Sixers ahead by two.

But the game eventually turned in the Celtics' favour as Simmons turned the ball over to the visitors following a two pointer from Al Horford.

The Sixers, who were fresh out of timeouts, couldn't regain possession and inch ahead before the final overtime buzzer left the score at 101-98.

Simmons, who missed a dolly of a dunk before overtime, was scolded for handing the opposition too many turnovers at the death.

"I've got a lot of growing to do," Simmons told the press after the game. "It's the first season I've played, the first time I've played in the playoffs. I'm learning a lot."

The 76ers missed a massive opportunity to get ahead late in the fourth after a botched dunk from Simmons left the home crowd scratching their heads. The 21-year-old Aussie rose through the air and smashed the ball into the rim, leaving the score poised at 81-81 with five minutes on the clock.

Terry Rozier put the Celtics ahead by two, but a successful dunk off the bounce from Sixers gun Joel Embiid ensured the scores stayed level as the final two minutes approached.

Jaylen Brown scraped the Celtics ahead and looked to have sealed the match, but an astonishing jump shot from Marco Belinelli on the buzzer levelled the score once again and put Game Three into overtime.



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