Boston Celtics

Boston Celtics

Saturday night saw one of the best games yet in the revived Boston Celtics-Philadelphia 76ers rivalry. In a 48-minute game that had just about everything, the Celtics came out on top 110-107 at the Wills Fargo Center.

It was the Sixers that jumped out to an early lead, which they held for the duration of the first quarter. However, from late in the first quarter to the beginning of the second the Celtics went on a 13-0 run, and would gain a slim lead of their own. Philly closed the half strong though, and lead at the break.

That lead grew throughout the third quarter, and at one point the Sixers were up as many as 15 points. Things got close again late in the third, as the Celtics ripped off an 18-3 run to close the gap, and take a 10-point lead of their own. But that lead quickly evaporated as well, and it was a one-score game for most of the final five minutes.

  • With a minute and a half to go, Al Horford hit a three pointer – one of his five on the night – to bring the lead back to the Celtics’ side at 105-103. Jayson Tatum would hit a shot to make it 107-103, but then the Celtics had two empty trips down the floor, as the Sixers answered with free throws at the other end. Joel Embiid‘s two freebies tied the game at 107 with 10 seconds to go.

    Coming out of a timeout after those free throws, the Celtics drew up a play that’s worked for them before this season. Tatum lined up in the backcourt, caught the inbound pass with momentum, then stepped back to put the Celtics up 110-107 with 1.3 seconds to play.

    That almost wasn’t it though. Off the Sixers inbound, Emiid hit a full-court shot with one hand. After review though, it was clear he didn’t get the shot off in time, and the Celtics were able to celebrate their dramatic win.

  • For Tatum, that final shot highlighted what was otherwise a rough scoring night. He did manage 18 points, but was 7-of-17 from the floor and 3-of-9 from deep while only getting to the free throw line for two shots. Even with the off night, he did manage to impact the game, with 13 rebounds and six assists – both team highs.

    With Tatum struggling offensively, Jaylen Brown stepped up. He finished with a team-high 26 points, including 10 in the fourth quarter when he shot 5-of-8.

    Horford came up big for the Celtics too. He was scoreless in the first half, but finished with 15 points shooting 5-of-8 from deep. Many of those shots came in key moments in the game.

  • Off the bench, Derrick White led the Celtics with another impressive performance. He scored 18 points and had a team-best plus-25 rating.

    For Philadelphia, Embiid was a thorn in the Celtics’ side all night, even without the game winner. He had 41 points and 12 rebounds, and constantly tested the Celtics physically. Working underneath the basket he earned 18 trips to the free throw line, hitting 17 of those shots.

    With the win, the Celtics snapped the Sixers’ five game winning streak – a streak that dated back to the last matchup between these two teams on Feb 8. Now 44-17, the Celtics maintain the best record in the NBA and move back to being a full game up on the Milwaukee Bucks for first place in the Eastern Conference. They’re also four games up on third-place Philly.

    Up next for the Celtics is the final game on a three-game road trip. They’ll be in Madison Square Garden on Monday night, taking on the New York Knicks. Coverage of that one begins at 7 p.m. on 105.7 WROR and the Celtics Radio Network.

  • 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.

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