BOSTON - The Sixers had Game 2. Well, it started off that way.
The Sixers blew a 22-point lead to fall, 108-103, to the Celtics in a critical matchup. The Celtics are 36-0 when leading a series 2-0.
Now the Sixers have to fight an uphill battle when they return to the Wells Fargo Center for Games 3 and 4 on Saturday and Monday.
• Roles were reversed at the beginning of the game. The Sixers looked in control like the Celtics were in Game 1, while the Celtics were totally out of sync like the Sixers had been. But when the Celtics began to slowly chip away at the Sixers' 22-point edge, they kept going … and going … and going while the Sixers' defense failed to halt them. The momentum had shifted by halftime as the Celtics outscored the Sixers 21-5 going into the break.
• The Celtics' confidence was apparent in the second half. In spite of seven lead changes and five ties on the night, the Celtics fended off multiple Sixers' comeback attempts.
• Ben Simmons had an off night, to say the least. He scored just one point (0 for 4 from the field) with five rebounds, seven assists and five turnovers in 31 minutes.
Brett Brown showed his confidence in T.J. McConnell during Simmons' struggles. McConnell subbed in for Simmons to play the final 3:39 of the third quarter. He stayed on the court until just over five minutes remaining, posting four points, three assists and a rebound, including feeding Robert Covington for a go-ahead three off an offensive board.
• Jaylen Brown returned from missing the series opener because of a hamstring injury to boost the Celtics' depth. The guard wasn't cleared until close to game time and quickly got back into rhythm with athletic plays, including getting up for dunks. Brown scored 13 points in 25 minutes off the bench.
• The Sixers needed their shooters to get hot after a poor three-point shooting performance in Game 1. JJ Redick dropped 13 points in the first quarter alone and scored a game-high 23 points off 5 for 9 three-point shooting. Covington was right behind him with 22 points (4 for 7 from three). The Sixers improved to 13 for 33 (39.4 percent) from long range, but the Celtics topped them at 15 for 36 (41.7 percent).
• Joel Embiid recorded another double-double: 20 points, 14 rebounds, five assists and a block. There's no question Embiid can run up the scoreboard in the playoffs, but beating the Celtics will have to be a total team effort.