Joel Embiid felt the Philadelphia 76ers could have shown more after their exit from the NBA playoffs but believes the future is still bright as he took inspiration from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

The Sixers were hoping to extend the series to Game 6 as they were 3-1 down to the Boston Celtics but were unable to finish the tie off despite leading in the final two minutes as the home side were able to win 114-112 on Wednesday night and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.

Embiid and Dario Saric both scored 27 points while Rookie of the Year candidate Ben Simmons added 18 points but it was not enough as the Celtics were able to make clutch plays and hold on to a late lead.

It comes as a big disappointment for head coach Brett Brown's men as they were picked by many to at least reach the finals of the Eastern Conference, especially given the Celtics were missing their two best players in Kyrie Irving and Gordon Hayward.

While Embiid feels hard done by the exit, he could only give credit to the Celtics for advancing despite the absence of key players.

"It's hard because I feel we had a pretty good chance of beating them but we got to give them a lot of respect," Embiid told reporters after the game. "They played well, they played well together, they made some tough shots during the series and they defended us pretty well too so we got to give them a lot of credit. It sucks but you got to learn from it and come back next year and do better."

"I feel like we had more, we got a lot of a talented guys. We didn't play our best, some games, some guys were playing well, some games they don't. But we feel like when everybody is on, we're unbeatable. We committed a lot of mistakes, we all learn from it but we definitely have more to show."

The Sixers were playing in the playoffs for the first time since 2012, having finished the regular season with a 52-30 record as the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference, notably above the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers.

The fact that they continued to exceed expectations throughout the season gives Embiid hope as the Cameroonian believes both him and Simmons can continue to grow and eventually win rings for the Philadelphia franchise, citing how they performed better than Durant and Westbrook did for the Oklahoma City Thunder in their first season together.

"We have a great group of guys, I hope they're all back next year because we understand each other, we play well with each other," Embiid added. "Me and Ben [Simmons], we have a lot of room to grow. I was thinking about it, just looking at KD [Kevin Durant] and [Russell] Westbrook, what they did the first season together [at Oklahoma], I think they only won 28 games or something like that. Looking at what we did, we got a bright future."

"At the end of the game, he [Simmons] came up to me, showed me his hands and he was like 'there's going to be a lot of rings' and I was like 'for sure' so we got a bright future and we're going to be fine. I'm excited to learn from this because I felt like we had a pretty good chance but we're going to learn from it and we're going to be fine."

The Celtics will now play the Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference Finals with Game 1 taking place Sunday in Boston.