Celtics Survive in Philadelphia, Nuggets Blow Out Suns to End Series

Thursday in the 2023 NBA Playoffs saw a pair of road teams prevail in vastly different ways in Game 6s. The Boston Celtics survived nearly blowing a 16-point lead in Philadelphia to force Game 7 on Sunday, and the Denver Nuggets were up 30 at halftime on the Phoenix Suns and never looked back to win that series.

Jayson Tatum Remembers How to Shoot Late in Dramatic Game 6 Win

Jayson Tatum
Photo by Herve Bellenger/Icon Sport

The Celtics were on the brink of elimination in Philadelphia. After blowing a 16-point lead, the Celtics and 76ers were engaged in one of the closest fourth quarters this postseason.

Neither team led by more than 2 points in the fourth quarter until Jayson Tatum hit a 3-point shot with 3:35 left to give Boston an 87-83 lead. It was one of four 3s made by Tatum in the final 5:00 to rescue Boston in a 95-86 win.

But Tatum was the story early too as he started the game 1-for-14 from the field. It was a miracle the Celtics even led as they did with how badly Tatum shot the ball. But Marcus Smart scored 22 points, and Derrick White and Malcolm Brogdon combined for 7 made 3s off the bench.

The Celtics had to overcome 17 turnovers on the road to survive this one. James Harden shot 4-of-16 for the 76ers in a rough night with a chance to end the series. Joel Embiid had 26 points and 10 rebounds. Tyrese Maxey was solid again with 26 points, but Tobias Harris only scored 2 points. The 76ers shot 36.1% from the field.

It was a messy game, but Tatum recovered at just the right time to lead to a Game 7 this Sunday.

Nuggets Destroy Suns in Phoenix in 125-100 Win

The top-seeded Nuggets are moving onto the Western Conference Finals after dominating the Suns in Phoenix. Denver led 81-51 at halftime before going on to win by 25 points in a nonconsequential second half.

Nikola Jokic had a 32-point triple-double. Jamal Murray found his shot again (4-of-7 from 3) on his way to 26 points. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope also had his best game of the playoffs with 21 points as the Nuggets shot 53.7% from the field and were 29-of-31 at the free throw line.

The Suns were without Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton, but we knew Devin Booker and Kevin Durant had to be special to win this game. They were nowhere close with Booker scoring 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting, a sour end to such a great postseason. Durant had 23 points but was a minus-13 on the court.

Cameron Payne actually played better than Paul would have, scoring 31 points with 7-of-9 shooting from 3. Jock Landale had 13 points and 5 rebounds at center.

But after back-to-back years of blowing 2-0 leads, including a loss in the Finals (2021) and a brutal Game 7 loss at home to Dallas, this latest disaster at home in an elimination game should put coach Monty Williams on the hot seat in Phoenix.

As for Denver, it will wait to see if the next opponent is the Lakers or Warriors.

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