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McConnell has big hand in Philly victory

The Associated PressPHILADELPHIA (AP) — T.J. McConnell turned a surprise start into the save of the season and Dario Saric scored 25 points to help the Philadelphia 76ers stave off elimination in a 103-92 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 4 on Monday night.

The Sixers still face daunting odds headed into Game 5 and trailing 3-1 in the Eastern Conference semifinals: No NBA team has ever won a series down 3-0.

McConnell had a career-high 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists in only his second start of the season and meshed well in the backcourt with Ben Simmons.

The crowd chanted “TJ! TJ!” each time he touched the ball in the fourth and proved why he has been so valuable even as bigger stars have sliced his playing time.

He was just what coach Brett Brown needed in a must-win game.

“I can tell you the Philadelphia 76ers spirit is just fine,” Brown said.

With NBA teams down 3-0 having lost all 129 series, the Sixers may need more than spirit to pull off this stunner.

Joel Embiid had 15 points and 13 rebounds and Simmons had 19 points and 13 boards.

Jayson Tatum led the Celtics with 20 points and Marcus Morris had 17.

The big 0 in the box score: Confetti pieces fired into the sky. The Sixers scrapped their traditional confetti cannon celebration after it was prematurely shot at the end of regulation in a Game 3 overtime loss.

McConnell, an undrafted third-year guard, had started 68 games combined over the last two seasons and served as an example of the type of player on which The Process was built.

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