Fourth Quarter Comeback Fuels Dramatic Win Over Celtics
The 76ers (47-25) finally got the best of the Boston Celtics (43-29), winning 118-115 Wednesday in dramatic fashion at The Center.
While the Celtics led throughout the first three quarters, the Sixers fought back behind Joel Embiid’s 37 points, 22 rebounds, and four assists.
Jimmy Butler would help deliver the final blow, scoring 15 of his 22 points in the fourth frame. His 18-foot jumper with 5.5 seconds on the clock sealed the victory.
“I think we’re all in a good place,” Butler said afterwards. “We’re just out there hooping.”
On the heels of a monster performance Sunday in Milwaukee, Embiid was masterful again, this time particularly from the foul line. When Boston forced Embiid to earn his points, the big man welcomed the challenge, shooting 20 for 21 from the foul line.
“He was very, very dominant tonight,” Brett Brown said. “I respect his tenacity.”
It was a tale of two halves for the Sixers, which triumphed in the fourth quarter, outscoring Boston 33-25 in the period. The team shot 52.4 percent from the field and 7 for 7 from the line in the fourth.
Add Wednesday’s win to Sunday’s 130-125 victory over the league-leading Bucks, and the Sixers are rounding into form. The team has now won six straight, extending its longest streak of the season.
Wednesday’s victory marks just the Sixers’ eighth game with the starting core of Embiid, Butler, Ben Simmons, Tobias Harris, and JJ Redick.
“This team is seven and one,” Brown said.
Redick added 17 points and three assists, while Harris scored 21 points and grabbed eight boards.
“I think everybody just made plays,” said Simmons (13 pts, 8 reb, 7 ast).
The Sixers overcame a 15-point first-half deficit Wednesday, and withstood 36 points from Kyrie Irving, 22 points from Al Horford, and 20 from Terry Rozier.
With the triumph, the Sixers salvaged a victory from their four-game season series with the Celtics. Most important, the Sixers now lead Boston by 4.0 games for third-place in the Eastern Conference standings.
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— * - Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) March 21, 2019
The Sixers will visit the Atlanta Hawks (24-48) Saturday, facing the young Hawks for the third time this season. The teams split their two games thus far, most recently a 123-121 Hawks’ win in the final seconds at The Center on Jan. 11. John Collins (19.7 ppg, 9.8 rpg) and Trae Young (18.5 ppg, 7.8 apg) are enjoying solid seasons.