Derrick White takes a jumper against the Sixers in Philly

Keys to the Game: 76ers 103, Celtics 101

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

Key Moment

Joel Embiid carried the 76ers throughout Tuesday’s matchup with Boston, but it was PJ Tucker who carried them home.

Tucker made three clutch triples during a two-minute stretch of the fourth quarter to propel Philadelphia to its one and only victory in four tries against Boston this season. The first shot was made with 2:53 remaining to break an 89-89 tie. The second was made with 2:03 remaining to double Philly’s lead up to six. The third was made with 53.3 seconds left to again push the Sixers ahead by six. All three makes came off of assists from Embiid, who scored 52 points during the contest.

Embiid, the possible league MVP, drew multiple defenders around the free-throw line on each of the first two plays. He read the defense perfectly and kicked it to the left corner to a wide-open Tucker on each instance. Tucker converted on both shots from directly in front of Boston’s bench. The third make came from the opposite corner, again wide-open, and again off a dish from Embiid.

It must be noted that the Celtics, who were playing without Jaylen Brown, Robert Williams and Payton Pritchard, still somehow nearly forced overtime during the final six seconds. They trailed by seven with less than 10 seconds remaining before rattling off five straight points in just 3.8 seconds of play. After an offensive foul by Embiid, Boston somehow had a chance to tie or win the game with 2.0 seconds left, but Jayson Tatum’s baseline jumper at the buzzer missed to the right and Philadelphia snuck out with a slim victory.

Key Player

Derrick White led Boston in minutes played at more than 40 Tuesday night, and there was great reason as to why such was the case. He was the team’s top threat at both ends of the court.

White led Boston in scoring with 26 points while shooting 9-for-18 from the field. He connected on four of his 10 shots from long distance, as well as all four of his attempts from the free-throw line.

At the other end of the floor, where White is sure to be chosen as an All-Defensive team member this season, the guard hauled in six defensive rebounds and blocked two shots. He now has 75 blocks on the season to lead all NBA guards. He would average 1.0 block per game if he blocks seven more shots during Boston’s final three games of the season.

White was Boston’s only starter who finished with a positive plus/minus rating Tuesday night. The C’s outscored Philly by four points while he was on the court.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Boston committed only eight turnovers, while Philadelphia committed 12.
  • Joel Embiid (52 points) and James Harden (20 points) were the only 76ers players who scored more than 11 during the game.
  • All five of Boston's starters scored between 10 and 26 points, led by Derrick White's 26.
  • Malcolm Brogdon outscored Philadelphia's bench all by himself, dropping 18 points compared to the Sixers reserves' total of 10.
  • The C's nearly won the game despite being outshot 50 percent to 41.8 percent.
  • Each team attempted 16 free throws.
  • Embiid also led the game in rebounds with 13.
  • Harden led the game in assists with 10.
  • Marcus Smart put forth a strong statistical night with 17 points, four rebounds, four assists and a steal.
  • Jayson Tatum tied Philadelphia's team total in steals with three.

Quote of the Night

"It's funny how that is the recipe to our success as a team more often than not, is to win on the margins. So I thought we did a lot of good things throughout the entire game, and you have a special night by a guy, and they made some big shots down the stretch."

- Joe Mazzulla on how Boston nearly won the game despite not shooting the ball well