Seeking a Bounce-Back Game 3

by Lauren Rosen

Trailing the Boston Celtics 2-0 in their first round matchup, the 76ers feel a win in Game 3 could change everything.

“I feel like a series really gets started when the other team wins,” said Al Horford. “It’s all about winning that first game, and things can change. They can change quickly.”

Making his 13th straight playoff appearance, Horford is hopeful that the team will make the adjustments necessary to force a shift in the series.

“I think that we need to make our presence felt a little more defensively,” Horford said. “We want to make sure that we’re setting the tone, that we’re playing the way that we know we’re capable of on the defensive end… really making it hard for them.”

Brett Brown believes his team can come back strong in Game 3 as well.

“The thing that I’m leaning on the most… There is enough talent, there is enough character, there are enough positive things to find a way to win,” Brown said at Thursday’s practice.

A long run could start with a single win.

“It’s just trying to get everyone to understand that it’s really one game at a time,” Horford said. “This next game for us, it’s important, and I just want the group to focus on that, and make sure that we come out and we do a better job.”

Brown added that from Horford to Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris to Matisse Thybulle and Shake Milton, his players' varying perspectives can combine to inspire and motivate one another.

“It comes from different voices, different places,” Brown said. “I think that it will.”

Defense and determination: focused on both, Game 3 could yield a friendlier outcome for the Sixers.

“[Defensive intensity is] something that we talked about today in practice, and that’s going to be our focus,” Horford said. “Our backs are against the wall, and we need to respond.”

Game 3 tips at 6:30 p.m. ET.

Opponent Outlook:

Jayson Tatum led the Celtics in scoring in each of their first two wins, scoring 32 points in Game 1, and 33 in Game 2.

Despite losing Gordon Hayward (ankle sprain) in Game 1, the C’s launched a balanced attack in Game 2, as Kemba Walker (22 pts, 4 reb, 2 ast) and Jaylen Brown (20 pts, 5 reb) backed up Tatum’s standout performance.

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Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia / MyTeams App / TNT

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