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NBA Game Notes (May 3, 2023)
Here are the NBA game notes for games that were played on May 3, 2023.
Embiid Back, But Celtics Roll
MVP Joel Embiid returned to the Philadelphia 76ers’ lineup, but it didn’t matter as the Boston Celtics rolled to a 121-87 victory in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals matchup. The series now shifts to Philadelphia for Game 3 on Friday with the teams all square at one game apiece.
The Celtics’ 34-point margin of victory is tied for the third-largest in a playoff game in franchise history, trailing only a 40-point win over the Sixers on May 9, 1982 and a 39-point victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on June 17, 2008.
Jaylen Brown scored a game-high 25 points for the Celtics, shooting 9-17 from the field with three 3-pointers made. Brown has scored at least 20 points while shooting better than 50% from the field in each of his last five games, matching the longest such streak in franchise postseason history. It’s the second time Brown has recorded five such playoff games in a row, the first occurrence coming in September 2020.
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The second member of the Celtics’ dynamic duo, Jayson Tatum, scored just seven points in 19 minutes played. Tatum made but one shot from the field, a playoff career low. Tatum did hit all five of his free throws and tied for the team lead with seven rebounds. He also registered a game-high plus-minus figure of +24.
The Celtics’ Malcolm Brogdon came off the bench to score 23 points in just 24 minutes played, hitting six of his 10 attempts from 3-point range. It’s the fewest minuted logged by a Celtic in a 20-point playoff game since Paul Pierce scored 24 points in 17 minutes on May 6, 2012.
After attempting only 26 3-pointers in Game 1, the Celtics nearly doubled that total in Game 2, firing up 51 shots from long range. They connected on 20 of them, tied for the fourth-most 3-pointers made in a playoff game in franchise history.
The Sixers’ Tobias Harris scored a team-high 16 points and snagged seven rebounds in the loss, shooting 7-12 from the floor. Harris did not record an assist, steal, block, turnover, or personal foul in 33 minutes played. Since the NBA began tracking individual turnovers in 1977-78, no other Sixer has recorded zeros in all five of those categories in a playoff game in which they played at least 15 minutes.
Embiid came back after missing the Sixers’ two previous playoff games with a knee injury, scoring 15 points and blocking a game-high five shots (all in the first half). It’s the fifth time Embiid has recorded at least five blocks in a playoff game. The only active player with more such games is Draymond Green with six.
Teammate James Harden struggled just one game after matching his playoff career high with 45 points, shooting 2-14 from the field and missing all six of his 3-pointers. Harden did make eight of his 10 free throws and also hauled in a game-high 10 rebounds.
Harden now has 10 career playoff games in which he’s shot less than 20% from the field on 10 or more attempts. That’s the most such games since the NBA introduced the shot clock in 1954-55.