Celtics Big-3-by-necessity comes through again - this time vs. 76'ers

Last evening, the Big-3-for-a-night from the 7th game versus Milwaukee became the Big-3-by-necessity in the convincing 117-101 win against the 76'ers with Jaylen Brown out the whole game with a strained hamstring.

It is obvious that if Boston is going to score enough points against Philadelphia to gain a victory, the bulk of the points have to come from the trio of Al Horford, Terry Rozier and Jayson Tatum. They did it in the Milwaukee finale, and they did it again last night in Game One of the Eastern semi-finals.

The threesome wasted no time getting started. Terry hit an early three-pointer and he was on his way. Al was very active all over the court, and Jayson was taking the ball to the hoop at every opportunity. T-Ro seemed particularly determined to do his best Kyrie Irving impression, hitting outside, driving to the hoop, passing off and generally driving the opposition nuts. All of the work he put in over the summer certainly has paid dividends.

Let me say this! Al Horford's game last night was masterful. He poured in 26 points, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out four assists. His scoring was phenomenal. Al was 83 % on field goals - 67 % beyond the arc - and 100 % from the foul line. He feasted on any 76'ers defender that happened to be on him, orchestrated the offense flawlessly and directed the defense. It was obvious in this game that Marco Belinelli and J. J. Redick can be taken advantage of when Boston is on the offensive attack.

Jayson Tatum had a few issues handling the ball on drives to the hoop, but that didn't deter him at all. He was relentless on his attack while also taking some nice mid-range jumpers on the move. He notched 28 points with 50 % shooting on field goals and 92 % from the free-throw line.

Star players are made in the off-season, and that adage seemed to work for Rozier. He was incredible. A total of 29 points. Shooting 61 % on field goals and 78 % beyond the arc. Adding eight rebounds, six assists, two steals and one block. Just a terrific stat line for the third-year guard. He certainly has come into his own.

We are only talking two games here, but this IS the playoffs after all, and the pressure is on for the Celtics to show the League that the season-long adversity can be overcome. This Celtics-Big-3-by-necessity has been dynamite. And I agree with the tweet above. We do seem to match up well with Philly. I admit to being a bit edgy about this series, but last night eased my mind significantly. On to the next game!

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Elise Amendola/AP Photo