The last thing the Philadelphia 76ers will remember about an inconsistent, disappointing, elongated 2019-20 season is a second-half collapse and the grit of Tobias Harris in what could very well be the final game coached by Brett Brown.
Philadelphia dropped Game 4, 110-106 and was subsequently swept by the Boston Celtics to get the boot from the NBA’s bubble in Orlando Sunday afternoon.
After holding a slim margin for the first half and into the third quarter, a 19-3 Celtics run ranging between the third and fourth quarters lifted them to the next round where they’ll play the winner of the Raptors, Nets series.
Boston’s Kemba Walker (32) and Jayston Tatum (28) combined for 60 points on the night, which also included a career-high 15 rebounds for Tatum to run Philadelphia out of the gym.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia’s offense sputtered for the last time this season — a frustrating trend, especially in the bubble — as Joel Embiid’s 30 points were supplemented by Harris’ 20, who thankfully was able to get through the day without suffering a serious injury.
With 2:40 remaining the third quarter, Harris went up to block a layup from Jayson Tatum but was upended by the Celtics star’s trailing leg as he flew toward the basket. Falling onto his left side, the side of his head slammed on the floor.
With blood splattered on the court, the Sixers’ training staff quickly rushed to the floor where they signaled the severity of the injury, raising a fist to show that the veteran had indeed hit his head on the floor.
Luckily, he walked off the court under his own volition with a towel pressed to his head. He suffered a left-eye laceration and was being evaluated for a concussion, but returned to the bench with seven minutes remaining in the fourth quarter.
“When you look at him and you ask him are you okay? And he looks back and he says he is, that’s good enough for me,” Brown told ESPN just moments after the injury. “Because for a while, we weren’t really sure what was going on. But when he left, the game changed.”
After the scary moment, the Sixers continued to falter as the Celtics took their largest lead of the game at 12 — behind a 12-0 run — to end the frame, which was capped off by a deep Tatum three-pointer with 1.9 seconds remaining.
The Sixers would try to answer with a 7-2 run in the ensuing three minutes and received an additional boost when Harris checked back into the game with 5:12 to go, but their deficit would only see single-digits in the final seconds.