The Sixers' 114-112 loss to the Celtics Wednesday night was a fair reflection of the way this fantastic series went.
During the win, Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum went for 25 points, second-year player Jaylen Brown had 24 and backup point guard Terry Rozier scored 17 and had a key strip of Sixers big man Joel Embiid with less than 10 seconds less in the game.
Despite some back-breaking miscues in crunch time of Game 3, Simmons looked more like himself with 16 points, eight rebounds, eight assists and two blocks. Keep in mind this was a Sixers team coming off a 10-win season previous year, and to see them advance as far as they did in the playoffs was truly unbelievable, as Brett Brown knows the future is bright for his team. Many expected the Sixers to defeat Boston in the second round because the Celtics were without injured stars Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward. "We didn't play our best".
Considering Embiid is just 24 years old, Simmons is 21, Dario Saric is 24 and 2017 No. 1 pick Markelle Fultz (a non-factor this year) is 19, the confident, young Sixers rightfully anticipate better playoff finishes to come.
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"For the next decade, we're going to have a lot of fun battles", Embiid said about matching up with Boston again in the future, according to BostonSportsJournal.com's Brian Robb.
"We feel like when everybody is on, we're unbeatable". We've gotta learn from it. "Going into the series Miami guarded us differently and then you go into Boston, they are way better defensively and they guarded us a certain way", Embiid admitted.
"Looking at where we are, it paid off", Embiid said of the "The Process". It's a process to get to the playoffs, we did it.
The franchise center said he and Simmons "have a lot of room to grow", and referenced the beginning of the Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook era in Oklahoma City as an example of how two young talents can reshape an organization. "We definitely had more to show".