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PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA - JANUARY 22: Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers blocks Jaylen Brown #7 of the Boston Celtics during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center on January 22, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

By Alex Barth, 985TheSportsHub.com

The Celtics struggles without Jayson Tatum continue. Boston dropped its third straight game Friday night, falling to the Sixers 122-110 in Philly.

After an early 10-point lead, the wheels fell off the wagon in the second half. Outscored 42-28 in the third quarter, the Celtics never regained command of the game. 

Unsurprisingly, the game got off to a physical start. After their Wednesday meeting, Marcus Smart and Joel Embiid traded remarks through the media, and got tangled up boxing each other out on more than one occasion before the first TV break.

In a scary moment towards the end of the first quarter, Payton Pritchard appeared to suffer a pretty painful knee injury. The rookie collided with Jaylen Brown and stayed on the floor for a minute before being helped to the locker room. Boston closed the quarter on a 12-2 run following the injury, and led 33-25 after one. 

The Celtics built their lead scoring off turnovers, but Philadelphia steddied themselves and got within two points with three minutes to go in the half. Boston was able to hold them off, and took a 52-49 lead into the break.

Most of the third quarter featured a back-and-forth between the two teams. However, a Celtics foul and ensuing technical foul 5:26 to play allowed the Sixers to take the lead with three free throws. Philadelphia took the momentum and ran with it. They closed the quarter on a 26-11 run, and led 91-80 heading into the fourth.

Down by as much as 14, the Celtics fought their way back to a five point deficit, forcing a Sixers timeout with 6:28 to play in the game. Boston would get within three before back-to-back turnovers led to Ben Simmons dunks, an eight point Philly lead, and a Brad Stevens timeout with 4:18 to play. The Sixers’ lead would only grow from there.

Jan 22, 2021; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) slam dunks against the Boston Celtics during the first quarter at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

While most of the Celtics struggled, Jaylen Brown put together a monster night with a game-high 42 points and nine rebounds. Marcus Smart (20) and Kemba Walker (19) were the only other Celtics in double figures. 

On the other side, Joel Embiid put together another dominant performance. He followed up his 42-point effort Wednesday night with a 38-point, 11-rebound double-double on Wednesday. The free throw numbers weren’t as lopsided as the previous game, but he did make 14 of his 15 freebies, getting five less attempts than the Celtics’ team total.

The Celtics drop to 8-6 on the year with the loss. On Sunday, the C’s return to Boston for a matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Coverage for that one begins with a 6:30 p.m. pregame show, leading up to tipoff at 7:00 on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Click here for 98.5 The Sports Hub’s complete coverage of the Celtics.

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Looking for a podcast guest? Let him know on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at Alexander.Barth@bbgi.com