Celtics annoyed with Embiid's exit

Associated Press

"They play well together". But in the end, it came down to the Celtics' ability to produce in the clutch - and Embiid's lack thereof.

The Philadelphia 76ers' exciting season came to a close on Wednesday when they were eliminated from the playoffs by the Boston Celtics in Game 5, but despite the crushing loss, there is reason for hope in Philly. "I felt like I had (a) lot more to go".

To be fair, Embiid dominated for the balance of the game. He's going to be a force in this league, provided he stays healthy. They have a young, productive core led by Embiid and Simmons, plenty of cap space to add to a talented roster this offseason, and draft capital to help firm up the roster with more youthful talent.

In addition to a young core that includes Embiid, Simmons, Dario Saric, and Markelle Fultz, who missed most of this season due to injury, the Sixers could have up to six picks in the 2018 National Basketball Association draft, including a lottery selection. The 20-year-old (!) rookie also went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line.

Embiid averaged 23.0 points a night over the five-game series, including 27 on Wednesday. And Smart had his patented Marcus Smart Game™, shooting just 3-for-8 but making big-time plays in big-time situations.

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The final play had Simmons, with 2.4 seconds left, throwing a Hail Mary pass the full length of the court but it was intercepted by the Celtics.

With their backs once again to the wall, the Sixers got a gutsy performance from one of their gutsiest players.

"They're a really good team". The scary thing is: they're still blossoming. The Celtics went on to win 114-112, ending Philadelphia's season in the second round of the playoffs.

"For those guys to go out and contribute at such a level and find ways to win has been very impressive".

In the playoffs for the first time since 2012, the Sixers won 20 out of 21 games, before they ran into the Boston buzzsaw losing three straight in the semifinals.

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