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An improbable Eastern Conference finals rematch with the Cleveland Cavaliers is in reach for the Boston Celtics.
The only thing delaying it is one more victory against a Philadelphia 76ers team intent on not becoming the latest to join a dubious NBA club.
Toronto was swept by Cleveland on Monday to become the 130th consecutive team in NBA history to fail to overcome a 3-0 deficit. Philadelphia is one loss away from becoming No. 131.
Philadelphia-born rapper Meek Mill Authentic Clive Walford Jersey , who has been courtside for several Sixers games this series following his release from prison last month, is one of many hometown fans still hoping they can pull off the comeback.
”I represent the underdog season,” Mill told The Associated Press on Tuesday. ”We’re the underdogs right now. We’re in a (bad) position at 3-1, but I definitely believe we can make a comeback.”
Philadelphia used its toughness, a little trash talk and 19 big points from T.J. McConnell in its 103-92 victory in Game 4 Monday to finally produce a glint of the basketball it displayed in easing past Miami in the first round.
Harnessing that energy will be paramount in Boston for Game 5 on Wednesday. The Celtics have yet to lose a game at home this postseason (6-0).
”Obviously, after 3-0, we (found) a way how to beat them,” McConnell said. ”We took the taste of how it feels on the court after losing. From 3-0, now it’s 3-1 We need to play play-by-play.”
Game 4 certainly felt the most like a throwback to the Celtics-76ers battles in the 1980s thanks to an increased level of chirpiness between players that produced some face-to-face moments and multiple technical fouls.
Boston’s Al Horford, who has scored in double figures in each of the Celtics 11 games this postseason (with five double-doubles), said more aggression is expected from a team in the Sixers’ predicament.
”We have to protect our home,” Horford said. ”We were able to steal one (in Game 3). They protected their home court (Monday). We have to go home and protect ours.”
A closer look at Wednesday’s Game 5:
CELTICS AT 76ERS
Celtics lead 3-1. Game 5, 8 p.m. EDT, TNT.
NEED TO KNOW: The Celtics are on the verge of a rematch with the Cavaliers in the conference finals. They struggled to match the 76ers physicality in Game 4 but return to the friendly confines of TD Garden with another chance to close out the series. Boston is unbeaten at home during these playoffs. In their two home victories over the Sixers Tremaine Edmunds Jersey , the Celtics have averaged 47 percent shooting from the field and hit 32 3-pointers.
KEEP AN EYE ON: McConnell. He gained a lot of confidence after being inserted into the starting lineup for Game 4. It will force the Celtics to account for him more, which could open the floor for his teammates.
INJURY UPDATE: Celtics coach Brad Stevens didn’t have a status update on reserve guard Shane Larkin (left shoulder) on Tuesday. If it’s out Wednesday night, Boston would be down to an eight-man rotation.
PRESSURE IS ON: The Sixers obviously must win to keep their season alive. But Boston also wants to wrap this series up as soon as possible. The Cavaliers’ sweep of the Raptors means the Eastern Conference finals could start as early as Sunday. The ability to rest is key for the Celtics.
AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston in Philadelphia contributed to this report.
There is usually another guest at the table when Gary Bettman and his wife, Shelli, go out to dinner with other couples during the NHL playoffs.
Friends come to accept the glow of the TV screen set up so Bettman can keep an eye on games, ready to go from enjoying a nice meal to running a multibillion-dollar business and back again. The commissioner of a storied league with 24 teams in the United States and seven in Canada doesn’t put work on hold for life or vice versa. When his 11-year-old grandson, Matthew, wanted to hang out with him in Tampa during All-Star weekend, he brought him along for meetings.
”They all blend together because I’m never off,” Bettman said. ”It’s all part of what I do and who I am.”
For 25 years, Bettman has overseen the growth of the NHL from $437 million in annual revenue to nearly $5 billion, guiding the league into and out of work stoppages and expanding hockey’s reach to places that never seemed a fit for the fastest game on ice.
The Stanley Cup Final opens Monday in Las Vegas, where Bettman had a guiding hand in the expansion process that yielded the Golden Knights and led to the most successful inaugural season in league history. When he was there in November 2016 for the unveiling of the team name, Bettman was booed by the crowd and could not have cared less.
”No http://www.saintsauthorizedshops.com/authentic-tre_quan-smith-jersey , no, keep the booing,” he told the crowd. ”That proves you’re now an NHL city.”
Once perhaps an unlikely leader for a game with its roots north of the border, the 65-year-old lawyer from Queens who got his start in the NBA has become one of the most powerful and long-lasting influences in professional sports. More than two decades into the job, Bettman still feels energized by the thrill of work – and the sugar supplied by dark chocolate Milky Way candy bars doesn’t hurt.
He isn’t going anywhere, either.
”I think he’s the best that we could do,” said Jeremy Jacobs, the Boston Bruins owner and board of governors chairman. ”I mean, there are things that might irritate you from time to time about him. But you know where his heart and soul is, he’s always interested in the game, the improvement of the game.”
It hasn’t always been pretty. Bettman has had a role in three lockouts, the relocation of five franchises, has repeatedly denied any link between head injuries and the degenerative brain disease CTE, and recently refused to allow NHL players to go to the Olympics after doing so five times. Confident in his decisions and willing to accept the ramifications to his reputation and legacy Authentic Jordan Howard Jersey , Bettman has earned respect – sometimes begrudged – and made some enemies while serving longer than the other three major sports commissioners combined.
”He’s a force, so he’s not going to roll over because somebody thinks it’s a good idea,” said John Collins, a former NHL chief operating officer. ”He’s very principled and he sticks up for his principles. And those principles could be business principles or they could be just kind of moral principles and he’ll fight for that. That’s the way he lives his life, and that’s the way he runs the league.”
Part of Bettman’s work involves keeping 31 ownership groups and markets on the same page. Former Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment President and CEO Richard Peddie said Bettman bringing almost every owner into the league has its benefits.
”They’re all there because Gary ultimately blessed them, so I think they always have some kind of IOUs,” Peddie said. ”I don’t mean that in a disingenuous or unfair way. But he was the gatekeeper, so he has that going for him.”
Bettman, who was NBA general counsel under then-Commissioner David Stern and a senior vice president before starting at the NHL on Feb. 1, 1993, orchestrates things in such a way that there’s rarely public dissent. Washington Capitals owner Ted Leonsis has watched how Bettman builds a united front among owners.
”He’ll pre-brief and sell some of the key owners, if you will, and he backchannels and he’ll literally call and brief every owner personally on a subject so that when you come to the meeting, you’re briefed Albert Wilson Jersey Elite , you’ve asked your questions,” Leonsis said. ”Because he puts in the work and he has the data and his competence is not questioned in any way and he does have the data, he’s able to land the planes, if you will, with efficiency.”
Bettman acknowledges some events during his tenure were not of his making. To this day, he insists moving the Quebec Nordiques to Colorado and the original Winnipeg Jets to Arizona had to be done, and that the 2004-05 lockout that wiped out an entire season was necessary to ensure the long-term health of the league.
”There are things I wish might not have happened,” Bettman said. ”Work stoppages are a good example. The fact is I knew what we needed, and we had to get it. And if it took a long time to ultimately convince the Players’ Association that this was in everybody’s best interest, I wish it could’ve happened sooner, but it didn’t.”
There are some in hockey who can’t forgive Bettman for the lockouts, most recently one in 2012-13. There are others like Peddie who’d rather consider them part of an entire body of work that includes overseeing expansion into the Sun Belt.
”It’s putting hockey where it hasn’t traditionally been,” deputy commissioner Bill Daly said. ”That’s proven successful. … I think his legacy of having franchises there and putting hockey in nontr.
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