BOSTON (AP) — Boston’s rising stars stalled The Process and led the Celtics to victory in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
Substitute point guard Terry Rozier scored 29, and first-year Celtics forward Jayson Tatum had a career-high 28 points to outplay redshirt rookie Ben Simmons on Monday night and lead Boston to a 117-101 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers.
With much of the attention focused on 76ers youngsters Simmons and Joel Embiid, Boston’s youth movement of Tatum and Rozier led the way. Two days after scoring a career playoff-high 26 points in Game 7 against Milwaukee, Rozier topped it, while also adding eight rebounds and six assists.
“It’s been a dream come true. I want to keep going,” said Rozier, who was wearing a Drew Bledsoe Patriots jersey to milk one more chuckle out of his pseudo-feud with vanquished Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe. “I’m just a guy just living in the moment.”
Embiid scored 31 points with 13 rebounds for Philadelphia, which lost for just the second time in 22 games. Simmons, the likely rookie of the year, scored 18 with seven boards and six assists.
But with six days of rest since eliminating Miami, the Heat missed 15 of their first 20 shots and hit 5 of 26 from 3-point range to lose for just the second time since March 13.
Al Horford had 26 points and seven rebounds for Boston, which will host Game 2 on Thursday night. The Celtics are hoping to have guard Jaylen Brown back from a hamstring injury he sustained in the clincher against the Bucks, leaving him sidelined along with Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.