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Staro 08-17-2018, 02:28 AM
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The youth movement is alive and thriving for the Boston Celtics.

And for the second straight game it was enough to upend a Philadelphia 76ers team that still has much to figure out as it heads home trailing 2-0 in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Rookie Jayson Tatum scored 21 points and hit a pair of free throws in the closing seconds Carlton Davis Youth Jersey , helping the Celtics rally from a 22-point deficit to beat the 76ers 108-103 on Thursday night.

Terry Rozier added 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Marcus Smart finished with 19 points and five rebounds as the Celtics improved to 6-0 at TD Garden this postseason. They have never blown a 2-0 lead.

”Coach was saying whoever is the tougher team is going to win,” Rozier said. ”They definitely punched us in the mouth at the beginning of the game. We just had to bounce back and get things together.”

Game 3 is Saturday in Philadelphia.

J.J. Redick had 23 points for the 76ers, making five 3-pointers. Robert Covington added 22 points and nine rebounds. Joel Embiid finished with 20 points, 14 rebounds and five assists, but rookie star Ben Simmons missed all four shots and had just one point.

”Mentally, just thinking too much,” Simmons said of his tough night. ”I’m going to have bad games. It happens. Obviously, it’s bad timing.”

Philadelphia recovered after squandering its big lead to nudge back in front 93-88 midway through the fourth quarter.

But an 11-4 run put Boston back in the lead 99-95 with less than four minutes to play.

It was 101-97 when a missed Philadelphia jumper led to a 2-on-1 fast break and alley-oop dunk from Rozier to Tatum with 2:23 left.

A layup by Dario Saric cut it to 104-101. But Al Horford was able to drive past Embiid for a layup with 8.3 seconds left.

Saric scored out of a timeout to make it 106-103. The Sixers quickly fouled Tatum, who calmly hit a pair of free throws.

Following an anemic offensive effort in Game 1, the Sixers looked rejuvenated early in Game 2, using a 14-2 run to begin the second quarter on their way to building a 48-26 lead.

It didn’t last.

The Celtics responded by ending the half on a 25-8 run. It included three straight 3-pointers and a tip-dunk by Jaylen Brown Tarik Cohen Jersey , who returned to action after sitting out the series opener with a strained right hamstring. He came off the bench and played 25 minutes, scoring 13 points and grabbing four rebounds.

The Sixers’ lead was completely erased midway through the third quarter, when Aron Baynes got a 3-pointer to bounce in and put Boston in front for the first time.

The lead grew to 76-68 on a baseline dunk by Tatum that capped a 50-20 Celtics run.

”Once we got on that run we never looked back,” Rozier said.

Brown entered the game for the first time at the 7:14 mark of first quarter. It took less than a minute to make an impact. He missed his first shot attempt before chasing down a loose ball and sprinting ahead for a one-handed dunk .

Prior to Thursday, Brown had started every game he’d appeared in this season. It was his first time off the bench since Game 5 of last season’s Eastern Conference Finals.

”They won two games at home and we have to reciprocate,” Sixers coach Brett Brown said. ”There’s not going to be a pity party.”

TIP-INS

76ers: Outrebounded the Celtics 49-41. … Went 13 of 33 from the 3-point line.

Celtics: The 22-point comeback victory represents their largest come-from-behind playoff victory since Game 4 of the 2008 NBA Finals (24 pts). … Went 15 of 36 from the 3-point line.

HE SAID IT

”It’s like a movie. You only see these type of comebacks in movies.” – Celtics guard Marcus Smart.

SLOW START

Despite Brown’s early highlight, the Celtics were sluggish early.

They started off the game 0 for 5 and didn’t score until Smart’s 3-pointer at the 8:37 mark of the first quarter.

Horford (1 for 3), Rozier (0 for 4), Brown (1 for 4) and Marcus Morris (0 for 3) were a combined 2 for 14 in the period, allowing Philadelphia to build a 31-22.

CELEB SIGHTINGS

Philadelphia-born rapper Meek Mill sat courtside for Game 2. Mill was released from jail last week after spending nearly five months behind bars on a probation violation. Rapper Gucci Mane sat across from the 76ers bench wearing a Brown jersey. The two met last year when Brown attended one of his concerts.

Another Philly native, actor Kevin Hart, sat a few seats down from Gucci. Hart at times antagonized the TD Garden fans Cheap Da'Ron Payne Jersey , drawing boos.



The Nashville Predators already sit atop the NHL standings, and now they’ve added another offensive boost before the playoffs.

General manager David Poile announced Thursday that the team had signed forward Eeli Tolvanen of Finland, the 30th pick overall last year, to an entry-level contract. Poile credited Tolvanen’s agent, Jay Grossman, with being in Nashville to finalize the last details in time for Tolvanen to be on the ice with the Predators at their morning skate .

”This is a great move obviously for today and our future,” Poile said after reeling off some of Tolvanen’s accomplishments in the past few months. ”He comes in at a great spot right now with six games left in the regular season. It gives us an opportunity to give him a look and gives us that depth that we’re going to need in the playoffs. So this is the end of my paper, but I’d like to add a couple more lines here before the year’s over.”

Terms of the contract were not announced.

Tolvanen spent two years in the United States Hockey League with the Sioux City Musketeers before opting to go to home to play for Jokerit in Kontinental Hockey League. With 36 points, he set the KHL scoring record for an 18-year-old before Jokerit was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs.

He also played for Finland in the 2018 Winter Olympics, where he tied for the second-most points by an under-19 player, with nine points in five games.

Poile said that production is proof that Tolvanen should’ve gone a lot earlier than 30th in the draft, where Nashville was surprised to find the 5-foot-10 forward still available.

”We were looking for an offensive player Josh Rosen Jersey , one that can score some goals, and it certainly appears on the surface that we found that out,” Poile said.

Tolvanen didn’t arrive in Nashville from Helsinki, Finland, until early Thursday. Coach Peter Laviolette wants Tolvanen to watch Thursday night’s game against the San Jose Sharks and to start picking up Nashville’s system. Having watched the forward the past few months, especially his games at the Olympics, Laviolette said he sees a smart player with great offensive instincts.

”We hope that that translates here,” Laviolette said. ”We think it will.”

Tolvanen’s NHL debut is likely to occur Saturday night when the Predators face the Buffalo Sabres to wrap up a three-game home stand. Tolvanen said he has played on a lot of new teams recently, which should ease his transition. He also credited playing with former NHL players at the Olympics with helping him as well.

Joining a team that had an NHL-best 109 points going into Thursday night also doesn’t hurt.

”I know they’re a really good team, so it’s easy to jump in,” Tolvanen said. ”There’s a lot of good players, and they’re going to push me forward. I think that’s a good thing for me.”

Jokerit coach Jukka Jalonen told The Associated Press that the team is looking forward to what happens with Tolvanen in the NHL. Jalonen said he expects Tolvanen to need time to get used to better opponents and bigger defensemen.

”After two Rashaad Penny Jersey Seahawks , three weeks, a few games, I think he will make an impression there,” Jalonen said.

Matching expectations that have grown with every video highlight shared on social media might be a challenge even for Tolvanen. The teen debuted in the KHL with a hat trick on Aug. 23 for Jokerit.

Poile thanked Jokerit general manager and Hockey Hall of Famer Jari Kurri for his help in getting Tolvanen to Nashville. Kurri told the AP that the timing is perfect for Tolvanen to join the NHL with so many young players, especially fellow Finns like Patrik Laine of Winnipeg and Sebastian Aho of Carolina, doing well in the league right now.

”That will really help him,” Kurri told the AP by phone.



AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this report.



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