Skip to main content

The second round of the Eastern Conference Playoff picture is beginning to form. This past Saturday night, before the Philadelphia 76ers and the Washington Wizards met up for Game 4, the Miami Heat and the Milwaukee Bucks played in the fourth game of their own.

With a 3-0 lead over Miami, Milwaukee had an opportunity to become the first team to advance past the first-round picking up the first sweep of the postseason. Sure enough, they did. 

The Sixers could've been next as they faced the Wizards for Game 4 on Monday with a 3-0 lead, but nothing went right for them on Monday night. From Joel Embiid's injury to the "Hack-A-Ben Simmons" fiasco, the Sixers dropped Game 4.

Therefore, they weren't the second Eastern Conference team to advance. Instead, it was the Brooklyn Nets.

Although the first couple of matchups between Brooklyn and Boston seemed like the series was headed towards a clean sweep for the Nets, Jayson Tatum's 50-point outing in Game 3 kept the Celtics alive and forced an extra game. 

Read More

Two nights later, the Nets took care of business and picked up a 3-1 lead. Then, the elimination game occurred on Tuesday in Brooklyn.

The Celtics held their own through the first half. As Tatum didn't have to play hero ball and got some help from his supporting cast, including the bench, Boston stayed within single digits through the first two quarters.

Going into the second half trailing by eight points, the Celtics managed to outscore the Nets in the third quarter. Despite holding the Nets to just 27 points, Brooklyn still had a small cushion going into the final quarter.

At that point, James Harden led the takeover. With 13 points, shooting 4-5 from the field, hitting on all three of his three-point shots, Harden and the Nets accounted for 37 fourth-quarter points going 70-percent from three. Boston couldn't keep up, as they hit on just 33-percent of their shots from beyond the arc scoring 30 points.

While a shorthanded Boston team put up a good fight in a tough series, they didn't have the firepower to compete any further. With a gentleman's sweep, the Brooklyn Nets advance to the second round of the playoffs, where they will face the Bucks. Meanwhile, the Sixers, Wizards, Atlanta Hawks, and New York Knicks are the four teams remaining in the first round.

Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_ & Instagram: @JGrassoNBA.