Simmons, Sixers fire up to save season
BEN Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers have found their voice with a bruising win in their do-or-die clash against the Boston Celtics - and they're determined to create history to keep their season alive.
The Celtics were chasing a series sweep in Philadelphia in the Eastern Conference semi-finals but came up against a fired-up Sixers outfit who triumphed 103-92 in a physical contest that turned nasty at times.
Simmons had his best game of the series, posting his first double-double since the first-round win over Miami, as Philadelphia got their first win in the best-of-seven series which Boston leads 3-1.
Simmons had 19 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, while teammate Dario Saric had a game-high 25 points.
The Sixers pulled a pre-game switch, with TJ McConnell added to the starting line-up in place of Robert Covington.
And coach Brett Brown was rewarded for his faith as the little-known guard produced a career-best performance.
McConnell had a career-high 19 points and kept Boston's Terry Rozier quiet - with the series' best-performed star to date held to just 11 points on 11 shots.
No team in NBA history has come back from a 3-0 deficit in a playoff series, but McConnell said the Sixers were using that history to fuel their fightback - insisting they weren't ready to give up on their season.
"We have nothing to lose. Our coach told us the team that's winning 3-0 is 129-0. So we really have nothing to lose," McConnell said.
"We're playing our hearts out and we're just trying to beat that one team.
"Even though we were a little immature last game on our home court, we showed a lot of maturity today and came up with the win."
Boston's Al Horford, who came up with the clutch play as the Celtics stole game three, was also below his best - posting 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Celtics, who will now be looking to close out the series at home with game five in Boston on Wednesday (AEST), were best served by rookie Jayson Tatum's 20 points and Marcus Morris, who had 17.
Boomers centre Aron Baynes added nine points and six rebounds for Boston.