After back-to-back wins, the Celtics had some momentum heading into Tuesday night’s game against the Eastern Conference leading Philadelphia 76ers. However, the hot hand proved to not be enough as the Celtics fell 106-96 at TD Garden.
Despite trading the lead back and forth through the first 15 minutes, Philadelphia found their rhythm midway through the second quarter and never looked back. That was due in large part to the Celtics 20 team turnovers, most of which came in the first half.
Early on, the Celtics struggled to find an answer for Joel Embiid. Without Tristan Thompson (health & safety protocol), Robert Williams was tasked with guarding Philly’s center, and quickly picked up three fouls. Luke Kornet followed but didn’t have much success. Embiid put up 12 points in the quarter, and had the Sixers up 25-24 after one.
Despite keeping things close early in the second quarter, the Celtics started slipping before the half. The Sixers went on a 17-2 run that included a 13-0 stretch midway through the frame. That proved to be the difference at halftime, with the Sixers ahead 59-46.
Philadelphia would stretch the lead beyond 20 points early in the third quarter. Slowly by surely, the Celtics were able to chip away, and had the deficit down to 15 heading into the fourth.
The Celtics continued to chip away in the fourth quarter. They were able to get as close as 10 points in the final minute, but it proved to be too little, too late.
As was the case in their previous two meetings this season, Embiid overwhelmed the Celtics for the majority of the game. He finished with 35 points and got to the line 20 times – two more than the entire Celtics team combined.
For Boston, Jayson Tatum led the way with 20 points, followed by Jaylen Brown with 17. Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker each chipped in 14 with no other Celtic scoring more than six.
With the loss, the Celtics drop to 25-26 on the season. That ties them for seventh place in the East with the New York Knicks, who they’ll welcome to TD Garden tomorrow night. Tip off for that game is scheduled for 7:30, with pregame coverage beginning at 7:00 on 98.5 The Sports Hub.
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 abarth@985TheSportsHub.com.