Simmons' 76ers crumble in loss to Celtics

Peter Mitchell, AAP US Correspondent

Ben Simmons' Philadelphia 76ers are on the brink of being eliminated from the NBA playoffs after suffering another loss to Aron Baynes's Boston Celtics.

The Celtics won 101-98 in an overtime thriller where Simmons and his teammates made fatal turnovers with game three of the eastern conference semi-final series on the line.

The win in Philadelphia on Saturday gives the Celtics a dominant 3-0 lead and they need just one more win to progress to the conference finals.

Simmons, who had a nightmare game two in which scored just one point, was more aggressive but his four turnovers helped sink the 76ers.

Simmons finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

His shaky moments included missing an open dunk when the scores were locked at 81-81 with five minutes to play and a failing to connect on a put back deep in overtime.

Simmons was also involved in a miscommunication with teammate JJ Redick in the final seconds of regulation which resulted in a steal and Celtics guard Terry Rozier passing it to Jaylen Brown for the easy lay-up to take the lead 89-87 with 1.7 seconds to go.

The 76ers Marco Belinelli hit a corner two-pointer off a set play to send the game into overtime, although 76ers operations staff thought it was a game-winning three-pointer for the win and set off confetti falling from the rafters.

It delayed overtime by 10 minutes while the floor was cleaned up.

In the key play of the game, Simmons' final pass to Joel Embiid was intercepted by the Celtics' Al Horford and Boston claimed the win.

Boston's Australian big man Aron Baynes had a ferocious duel with Embiid, with tempers flaring and referees forced to step in several times after they battled under the basket.

Baynes had seven points and 10 rebounds while Embiid had 22 points and 19 rebounds, with both fouling out late in the game.

Game four is in Philadelphia on Monday.