Celtics’ Jayson Tatum Overcomes Own Poor Play to Force Game 7

Both teams are built to win now. These are not young, overachieving franchises. The 76ers are desperate to fulfill the long-awaited promise of their team-building blueprint known as the Process, with Joel Embiid, who recently collected his first N.B.A. Most Valuable Player Award, operating as their focal point. The Celtics, meanwhile, have been using the slogan “unfinished business,” a nod to how close they came to winning it all last season when they lost to the Golden State Warriors in the N.B.A. finals.

An early exit for either the 76ers or the Celtics — and getting bounced from the playoffs in the conference semifinals would qualify — could lead to a summer of change. A win, though, would be seismic.

“Honestly, I wouldn’t want to go to Game 7 in Boston with any other group,” 76ers Coach Doc Rivers said. “I know we’re going to rally. We’ve rallied all year long on the road.”

On Thursday, Tatum rallied from his own struggles. He missed 13 of his first 14 field-goal attempts, a stretch of futility that extended into the fourth quarter. His teammates, he said, continued to feed him positive reinforcement. Keep rebounding. Keep defending. Keep passing. Keep shooting.

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