bout the opportu

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bout the opportu

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An improbable Eastern Conference finals rematch with the Cleveland Cavaliers is in reach for the Boston Celtics.

The only thing delaying it is one more victory against a Philadelphia 76ers team intent on not becoming the latest to join a dubious NBA club.

Toronto was swept by Cleveland on Monday to become the 130th consecutive team in NBA history to fail to overcome a 3-0 deficit. Philadelphia is one loss away from becoming No. 131.

Philadelphia-born rapper Meek Mill Ray Lewis Jersey , who has been courtside for several Sixers games this series following his release from prison last month, is one of many hometown fans still hoping they can pull off the comeback.

”I represent the underdog season,” Mill told The Associated Press on Tuesday. ”We’re the underdogs right now. We’re in a (bad) position at 3-1, but I definitely believe we can make a comeback.”

Philadelphia used its toughness, a little trash talk and 19 big points from T.J. McConnell in its 103-92 victory in Game 4 Monday to finally produce a glint of the basketball it displayed in easing past Miami in the first round.

Harnessing that energy will be paramount in Boston for Game 5 on Wednesday. The Celtics have yet to lose a game at home this postseason (6-0).

”Obviously, after 3-0, we (found) a way how to beat them,” McConnell said. ”We took the taste of how it feels on the court after losing. From 3-0 Jameis Winston Jersey , now it’s 3-1 We need to play play-by-play.”

Game 4 certainly felt the most like a throwback to the Celtics-76ers battles in the 1980s thanks to an increased level of chirpiness between players that produced some face-to-face moments and multiple technical fouls.

Boston’s Al Horford, who has scored in double figures in each of the Celtics 11 games this postseason (with five double-doubles), said more aggression is expected from a team in the Sixers’ predicament.

”We have to protect our home,” Horford said. ”We were able to steal one (in Game 3). They protected their home court (Monday). We have to go home and protect ours.”

A closer look at Wednesday’s Game 5:

CELTICS AT 76ERS

Celtics lead 3-1. Game 5, 8 p.m. EDT, TNT.

NEED TO KNOW: The Celtics are on the verge of a rematch with the Cavaliers in the conference finals. They struggled to match the 76ers physicality in Game 4 but return to the friendly confines of TD Garden with another chance to close out the series. Boston is unbeaten at home during these playoffs. In their two home victories over the Sixers, the Celtics have averaged 47 percent shooting from the field and hit 32 3-pointers.

KEEP AN EYE ON: McConnell. He gained a lot of confidence after being inserted into the starting lineup for Game 4. It will force the Celtics to account for him more, which could open the floor for his teammates.

INJURY UPDATE: Celtics coach Brad Stevens didn’t have a status update on reserve guard Shane Larkin (left shoulder) on Tuesday. If it’s out Wednesday night Joe Montana Jersey , Boston would be down to an eight-man rotation.

PRESSURE IS ON: The Sixers obviously must win to keep their season alive. But Boston also wants to wrap this series up as soon as possible. The Cavaliers’ sweep of the Raptors means the Eastern Conference finals could start as early as Sunday. The ability to rest is key for the Celtics.



AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston in Philadelphia contributed to this report.



No longer part of the Browns' plans, Cody Kessler got passed to a new team.

Cleveland traded its former starting quarterback to the Jacksonville Jaguars on Monday, the latest move for the Browns who have spent the offseason upgrading the team's most troublesome position following a 0-16 season.

In exchange for Kessler, the Browns will receive a conditional 2019 seventh-round draft pick from the Jaguars, who were in the market to find a backup for starter Blake Bortles.

The 24-year-old Kessler had been in a steady slide down Cleveland's depth chart after starting eight games as a rookie in 2016. But after the team acquired Tyrod Taylor from Buffalo, dealt DeShone Kizer to Green Bay and with the Browns expected to take a quarterback with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL draft, there was no room for Kessler.

Last season, he entered training camp as the Browns' starter but soon fell behind Kizer and Brock Osweiler and wound up being inactive for 10 games. He appeared in three games Eric Berry Jersey , completing 11 passes for 126 yards and was sacked six times.

Kessler's tenure with the Browns began in mild controversy.

After the team passed on taking several other quarterbacks in the 2016 draft, Cleveland's selection of Kessler in the third round drew criticism. Coach Hue Jackson tried to deflect the harsh assessments of Kessler by saying, "Trust me" about the former Southern Cal standout.

Kessler wasn't expected to get on the field as a rookie, but after injuries sidelined Robert Griffin III and Josh McCown, he was thrust into action long before he was probably ready.

Kessler showed toughness and some potential by passing for 1,380 yards and six TDs. But he was sacked 21 times and it didn't help that the Browns lacked playmakers to help him during a 1-15 season.

Jacksonville represents a fresh start for the likable Kessler.

"We are excited about the opportunity to add Cody as depth to our quarterback position," said Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell. "Despite being just 24 years old, Cody has already seen NFL game action and was very effective as a rookie in 2016 Kiko Alonso Jersey , showing accuracy and efficiency in posting a quarterback rating of 90-plus.

"From our research and through getting to know Cody during the draft process, we know he is a smart, tough and competitive young man and we expect him to be a great addition to our quarterback and offensive meeting rooms."

AP Sports Writer Mark Long in Jacksonville contributed to this report.

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