The Sixers found themselves in a must-win situation against the Celtics on Friday night, looking to avoid going down 3-0 to the Celtics. Despite a hard-fought effort from the Sixers in game three they fell just short and lost to the Celtics by a final score of 102-94. Here are some takeaways from the action. 

Lack of perimeter shooting 

All year one thing that has been a weak area for the Sixers is perimeter shooting. Since the departure of JJ Redick in free agency, the Sixers have missed a knockdown shooter from deep. The inability to hit a shot from deep has crippled the Sixers this entire series. 

In game three the Sixers shot 23.1% from deep, making nine threes on 39 attempts. Furkan Korkmaz and Tobias Harris led the Sixers in three-pointers made this season and neither of them has yet to hit a shot from deep against the Celtics. 

This poor shooting has hurt the Sixers' spacing and made Joel Embiid's job a lot harder. With no knockdown shooting around Embiid the Celtics have collapsed the paint on Embiid and forced him to score on multiple defenders or make the Sixers' wing player shoot. The inability to knock down shots from deep will lead to the Sixers' demise in this series. 

Strong backcourt play 

One of the most consistent things in this series for the Sixers has been the backcourt. Josh Richardson and Shake Milton have done their best in aiding Embiid to help lead the Sixers to victory. Both guards managed to score 17 points in the game three loss. 

Josh Richardson also played well defensively in game three. With Matisse Thybulle playing limited minutes Richardson was given the task of defending Tatum, something he did with energy and physicality. His hustle on that end of the ball was much needed and kept the Sixers alive in this game.

Based on the way he has played in this series, you wouldn't guess this was Shake Milton's first taste of the postseason. His composer on the floor and his ability to score has been a big boost to the Sixers. Not to mention with Ben Simmons out he has had the ball in his hands much more and very few times has he looked overwhelmed. It looks like the Sixers have found themselves a gem in Shake Milton, his emergence might be the biggest positive in this rocky ride of a season. 

The Al Horford experiment crashed and burned 

In one of the most shocking moves of the summer, the Sixers decided to sign Al Horford to pair with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. From the beginning, it has been looked at as a questionable move, and it this postseason it was exposed greatly. 

Al Horford has been exposed greatly in this series. Boston has picked him apart on the perimeter defensively and has been nonexistent scoring the ball. Through three games in this series Horford has scored a total of 16 points, he recorded six points in 37 minutes of action in game three. 

His fit on this roster has been questionable at best this entire season and has been far from impactful in the postseason. Despite strong showings in the seeding games, Horford's fit next to Embiid in the playoffs has been a failure. 

Joel Embiid has done all he possibly can to keep the Sixers competitive, but the group around him has struggled. As a team the Sixers shot 29.5%, you cannot expect to win a playoff game with that poor of shooting numbers. 

The Sixers will be back in action on Sunday with their backs against the wall as Boston will win the series with a win. 

Kevin McCormick is the 76ers insider for 97.3 ESPN and 76ers editor for Follow him on Twitter @KevinMcC973.



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