03/20 21:23 CDT Embiid gets 37 and 22 to lead 76ers past Celtics 118-115
Embiid gets 37 and 22 to lead 76ers past Celtics 118-115
By AARON BRACY
PHILADELPHIA (AP) --- Joel Embiid had 37 points, 22 rebounds and a key block on
Kyrie Irving with 35 seconds remaining, and Jimmy Butler scored 15 of his 22
points in the fourth quarter to lead the Philadelphia 76ers over the Boston
Celtics 118-115 on Wednesday night for their sixth straight victory.
Tobias Harris added 21 points for the 76ers, who avoided a season sweep by the
Celtics. Philadelphia (47-25) holds the No. 3 seed in the Eastern Conference
playoff race, three games ahead of idle Indiana and four in front of
Irving scored 36 points for the Celtics.
The game was tied at 113 with a minute left before Ben Simmons converted a
three-point play. He banked in a shot with his right hand and got fouled by
Marcus Morris, hitting the free throw to make it 116-113 with 40.8 seconds to
go. Embiid then rejected a driving Irving on the Celtics' ensuing possession
and Butler sealed it with a long jumper from the wing with 4.7 ticks remaining.
The 76ers finally broke their hex against Boston.
The host Celtics took the season opener 105-87, won a nationally televised
Christmas game 121-114 in overtime also in Boston and earned a 112-109 win in
Philadelphia on Feb. 12. Boston also eliminated the 76ers from the playoffs
last season, and 76ers coach Brett Brown acknowledged prior to Wednesday's game
that it was important for Philadelphia psychologically to defeat Boston.
It didn't appear that would happen for much of the night.
A turning point might have come early in the second half when tempers flared.
Marcus Smart took objection to Embiid sticking his left elbow out as Smart ran
past the Philadelphia big man on defense. With Embiid's back turned, Smart gave
Embiid a two-handed shove that sent him sprawling toward the sideline. An
enraged Embiid got up and went after Smart. Both players were restrained, and
no punches were thrown. After an officials' review, Smart was tossed for a
Flagrant 2 foul.
A motivated Embiid scored the next eight points to help Philadelphia close a
69-58 halftime deficit.
The 76ers, who trailed by 15 in the first half, played catch-up for most of the
game. Philadelphia took just its second lead on Embiid's layup that made it
109-108 with 3 minutes left. The advantage was 111-108 after Butler's drive
with 2:25 left.
Boston: Gordon Hayward (concussion) missed his second straight game. . Aron
Baynes injured his left ankle with 5:07 left in the first half and didn't
return. . The Celtics dropped to 17-18 on the road. ... Smart exited with three
Philadelphia: JJ Redick had 17 points and Simmons scored 13. . The 76ers
improved to 29-9 at home. They have 10 games left in the regular season.
Celtics: At the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday night.
76ers: At the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.
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