Baynes' Celtics earn shot at LeBron

Peter Mitchell, AAP US Correspondent
1 / 2

NBA

Aron Baynes' strong game has helped Boston eliminate Philadelphia from the NBA playoffs

Aron Baynes produced one of his finest games as the Boston Celtics slayed Ben Simmons' Philadelphia 76ers.

Now the burly Australian centre gets to battle it out with LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers for a place in the NBA Finals series.

"Amazing" is how Celtics' veteran Al Horford described the often unsung Baynes' performance in Wednesday's 114-112 thriller victory in Boston that clinched a 4-1 eastern conference semi-finals series win over the 76ers.

It was a frantic game five, with the lead changing multiple times in the final quarter and Baynes and fellow Australian Simmons going head-to-head in battles around the basket.

A key play came with just 10 seconds to go with the Celtics up 111-109 as the 76ers gave the ball to their 213cm, 113kg All-Star centre Joel Embiid.

The only person standing in Embiid's way was 208cm, 118kg Baynes.

Embiid attempted to muscle Baynes out of the way but the Australian held his ground and was able to repel him.

Celtics guard Terry Rosier swooped, knocked the ball and it touched Embiid before going out of bounds.

The final play had Simmons, with 2.4 seconds left, throwing a Hail Mary pass the full length of the court but it was intercepted by the Celtics.

"The feeling right now is I don't want to be done," said a disappointed Simmons, whose lack of confidence shooting from medium and long distance was exposed by the Celtics.

The 76ers entered the playoffs with a 16-game winning streak and high expectations, but the Celtics shook off injuries to players including Australian-born All-Star Kyrie Irving to win the first three games and then close it out on their home court.

Baynes had 13 points, including one three-pointer, and nine rebounds.

One of the keys to Baynes' game was his ability to defend Embiid one-on-one, allowing the Celtics' other players to smother the 76ers' three-point shooters.

Baynes had barely shot a three-pointer in his first five seasons in the NBA, but against the Celtics he buried seven of 16 attempts, or 44 per cent.

"He has had to really change his game all year," Horford said.

"He has extended his range - he is shooting threes now. He is taking the challenge defensively, he is our rim protector every night and I'm just so happy for him to see him have success at this level."

The Celtics will play game one of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Cavaliers on Sunday in Boston.

James has been sensational for the Cavaliers, averaging 36 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in the 4-0 sweep of the East's top seeded Toronto Raptors.

"LeBron is on just a ridiculous run of play and we know it will be quite a challenge," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

The Houston Rockets will host the Golden State Warriors in game one of the Western Conference Finals on Monday.