The Boston Celtics secured a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals after they beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 114-112. Wednesday’s Game 5 was representative of the second-round series as a whole, with the calm and competent Celtics outlasting a Sixers squad intent on clawing defeat from the jaws of victory.
Rather than run in-depth highlights of the exciting affair, all you need to watch is Joel Embiid’s sisyphean struggle underneath the basket during the dying seconds of regulation. It’s microcosmic. With his team down by two, the talented big man couldn’t convert, and he joins Confetti Guy back in Philadelphia for a summer spent imagining what could have been.
Was he fouled? Probably. Should he have gone up with his left hand? Perhaps. Where did his mask go? No one knows.
It was sad to see this fun series get cut short, but both teams are young and talented and will likely be sparring for years to come. Boston’s victory gift is a date with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers for a rematch of last year’s Eastern Conference Finals.
Things didn’t go too well for the Celtics last time around when they lost in five games, but they are one year older and wiser now. LeBron, meanwhile, has stayed the same age, as he experiences time on a cosmic scale, like sentient light or Susan Lucci.
That series tips off on Sunday. After a second round of quickly resolved playoff contests, let’s hope it goes more than five games.