Celtics players wanted Joel Embiid to 'man up' after all trash talking

Boston Celtics outclass Philadelphia 76ers, lock in NBA play-offs showdown against LeBron James' Cavs

At this point they are on the outside looking in.

The 76ers, and former general manager Sam Hinkie in particular, took a lot of criticism for losing many games in order to draft high and secure top talent - not really a insane idea, right?

The Eastern Conference Finals start Sunday and the Western Conference Finals start Monday. The Sixers did add Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova, but they still weren't supposed to be this good, this soon.

"I would like to see more threes".

But the Celtics surprised the Sixers - and the rest of the National Basketball Association - by winning the series in five games. "We didn't play our best".

"We feel like when everybody is on, we're unbeatable". "And it'll be a lot easier for us to come in and get games done and not put ourselves in a hole like we did". We didn't do it, so next year it's definitely our goal.

Disappointed as I was that the Sixers fell short, it's important to maintain some perspective.

The success of Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum has greatly effected how we view rookies.

Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Ben Simmons had a hard start to the series and had one of his worst stretches of basketball play the entire season.

"The feeling right now is I don't want to be done", said a disappointed Simmons, whose lack of confidence shooting from medium and long distance was exposed by the Celtics. "I'm grateful for the opportunity". They put up a strong fight against the Boston Celtics, but the Celtics proved themselves to be the better team when the moment mattered most. As a rookie last season he contributed just 5.0 points and 2.1 boards in almost a third as many minutes. Saric nailed big shot after big shot in this one - he canned momentum-swinging threes, got tough buckets in the post against Celtics guards, and got free on some timely cuts. He struggled, learned and matured. "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. Boston outplayed Philadelphia in clutch time throughout the series, outscoring the Sixers 51-39 when games entered the final five minutes with a margin of five or fewer points.

The spectacle known as the Sixers will keep the NBA Playoffs compelling for years to come if - and this caveat always must be included when discussing Embiid, who missed his first two pro seasons due to injuries - the multi-skilled Cameroonian known as "The Process" can remain healthy.

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