Rozier stars as Celtics ease past 76ers in game one

NBA: Hot trio of Rozier, Tatum and Horford on fire, as Celtics down Sixers at home to open s-final series

The Boston Celtics have been overcoming the odds all season and continued to do so in game one of their Eastern Conference semi-final showdown against the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.

Rozier scored 29 points while Tatum had a career-best 28 points.

Brown injured his hamstring in Game Seven of Boston's first-round win against Milwaukee. Embiid scored 31 points and had 13 rebounds in what was a return to the dominant center that can take over game when it is needed.

While the Celtics shot 17-of-35 (48.6 per cent) from long range in the opener, the 76ers managed to hit just 5-of-26 (19.2 per cent).

The Sixers will look to even the series when they visit the Celtics in Game 2 at 8:30 p.m. ET Thursday.

Simmons, the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft who sat out all of a year ago with an injury, was heckled by the Boston crowd with chants of "Not a rookie!"

More news: Philadelphia Eagles, Super Bowl champions, turn to defense in 4th round

"It was OK", Embiid said. "I love when people talk trash, so keep bringing it on and we're going to see how it goes". They only went eight deep, but every players contributed valuable minutes.

Guys like Dario Saric, Robert Covington and Markelle Fultz (who did not play because of coach's decision) will ultimately need to become more consistent for this team to reach their full potential.

One of the highlights of the game came in the last minute of the third quarter, when Marcus Smart, 6-foot-4, leaped above the 7-footer and ripped down a rebound.

The difference maker for stopping the Sixers was the Celtics' perimeter defense, that halted all opportunities to make an impact from beyond for Philadelphia. Though he knows other teams in the East remain relevant, he thinks there is enough young talent on the current 76ers and Celtics rosters to give the rivalry a rebirth. It's making inexperienced players think in the crucible of playoff basketball. Unfortunately for this Sixers squad, the best team doesn't always win.

Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics had to battle their way through a tough seven-game series against the Bucks before taking on the 76ers on a short turnaround and they couldn't be happier as they drew first blood in the series. LeBron James said he was "burnt" after the Cavs' Game Seven win against IN, so fans will pay attention to whether he has recovered enough for Cleveland to take this imperative game.

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