The Boston Celtics want absolutely nothing to do with any type of trusting of a process, and they made that point very clear on Wednesday night. The Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals by eliminating the Philadelphia 76ers with a close 114-112 Game-5 victory. Jayson Tatum led the way with 25 points, including the go-ahead layup with 23 seconds left, as the Celtics became the first team in NBA history to win two playoff series without their leading scorer playing a game in either series. Jaylen Brown added 24 points, while Terry Rozier had 17, including the game-sealing free throws in the final seconds. Al Horford also had a productive night with 15 points and eight rebounds, as Boston advances to consecutive Conference Finals for the first time since making it five straight years from 1984-1988. Joel Embiid had 27 points and 12 rebounds for the Sixers, but committed a crucial turnover late to end the Sixers' chances to tie or win the game. Dario Saric had another big game with 27 points and 10 rebounds, while Ben Simmons had 18 points, eight rebounds, and six assists. Although, Simmons did finish the series with the worst plus/minus on the team, which played a big role in the Sixers' second-round struggles. Boston will have homecourt advantage in their second straight Conference Finals series with the Cleveland Cavaliers, which will begin on Sunday afternoon at the TD Garden.
Yankees Rally For Eighth Straight Win
The New York Yankees are officially on their best 18-game stretch since the 1950s, and they are beating up on quality teams to defend home field. Brett Gardner had the go-ahead, two-run triple in the eighth inning off of Craig Kimbrel, as the Yankees won their eighth straight, and 17th in their past 18 games, 9-6 over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday. Aaron Judge followed Gardner's clutch knock with a two-run home run to extend the lead, as the Yankees took over first place in the AL East division. At 26-10, the Yankees have sole possession of the best record in baseball for the first time since July of 2012, as they are now 35-8 at Yankee Stadium since September 2nd of last year. They hold the best home record in the majors this season at 16-5. Aroldis Chapman came on for his ninth save after stranding J.D. Martinez's single for the Yankees' second straight win over their rivals. Gardner's big hit helped him snap out of a recent slump, as he came in to the game batting just .147 with no extra-base hits in his previous 19 games. He doubled and scored twice in Wednesday's win, as the Yankees hope that will break him out for good. Hanley Ramirez went deep for Boston in the seventh to support starter Rick Porcello, who got the start for David Price, who is back in Boston getting tests for numbness in his pitching hand. Although, that was not enough against the Yankees, who were also pleased to see Giancarlo Stanton stay hot. He knocked in a run to give him consecutive games with an RBI for the first time since joining the Yankees, as he improved to 10-for-19 with seven RBI against Boston this season. These two rivals will conclude this three-game series on Thursday night.
Mets Bat Out of Order, Fall to Reds in Extras
A very, very rare mistake took place on Wednesday afternoon during what turned out to be a frustrating game for the New York Mets. They seemed to be getting off to a nice start in the first inning, before their early rally was halted by the fact that they batted out of order. Their final out of their inning came when the Reds noticed that the wrong guy was at the plate when Wilmer Flores stepped up. as the Mets blamed it on giving out the wrong lineup card. This is the first time that has happened in baseball since 2008, involving the same two teams, but this time it was the Reds committing the mistake. That resulted in David Ross getting two at-bats within three hitters. The day got even more frustrating for the Mets when Adam Duvall won it for the Reds with a solo shot in the 10th inning. That came off of A.J. Ramos, who suffered his second loss, and was his first-career walk-off blast. The loss for the Mets is their eighth in the past nine games, as they have scored two runs or less in seven of those games, including getting shut out in three of them. The Reds took two of three from the Mets for just their second series win of the season, as they sit at 10-27 for their worst start since the Great Depression. Rafael Iglesias got the win for Cincinnati after retiring six straight batters out of the bullpen. The Reds will head out west this weekend to battle the Los Angeles Dodgers, while the Mets will battle the Phillies in Philadelphia.