Kyrie Irving, Celtics Earn 7th Straight Win with Victory over Joel Embiid, 76ers

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 11, 2018

LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 11:  Kyrie Irving #11 of the Boston Celtics holds off Ben Simmons #25 of the Philadelphia 76ers during the NBA game between Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers at The O2 Arena on January 11, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)
Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Changing continents wasn't enough to slow down the red-hot Celtics.

Kyrie Irving totaled 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds to lead Boston to its seventh straight victory, a 114-103 win over the 76ers at the O2 Arena in London on Thursday. The squad overcame an early 22-point deficit to win in the eighth ever regular-season game in England.

The Celtics (34-10) retained the best record in the Eastern Conference and snapped Philadelphia's four-game win streak (19-20) in the process.

It took a while for the Celtics to get going, but they were simply dominant after the slow start.

With just over six minutes left in the second quarter, Boston outscored its opponent 86-54 for the rest of the game.

As ESPN's Chris Forsberg and ESPN Stats and Info noted, this continues an impressive trend of comebacks for this squad:

While the shooting clearly improved from the first half to the second, the defense was especially key with Philadelphia struggling to find open looks after intermission. Jaylen Brown had a big day with 21 points, but his work on the other end helped him finish plus-34 on the court.

Joel Embiid filled up the stat sheet for the Sixers with his 17th double-double in 30 games, but he only managed to shoot 6-of-17 from the field (1-of-5 from three). Ben Simmons scored just four points after halftime with zero assists.

Although few thought the 76ers would cruise to victory after a hot start, they at least looked like the better team in the early going. A huge second quarter helped them build up a 22-point lead behind the hot shooting of J.J. Redick:

The guard hit four three-pointers in the first half for 18 of his eventual 22 points.

However, the Celtics ended the half on a 15-3 run to keep the score at a reasonable 57-48 by halftime.

Jayson Tatum was key in helping continue the comeback in the second half, eventually grabbing the lead for the first time all game exactly halfway through the third quarter.

A 37-22 advantage in the third quarter helped Boston go up six heading into the final frame.

It was one-sided from there, with the favorites using a wide variety of weapons to build as much as a 19-point lead. Irving was especially unstoppable as a shooter and finisher:

Marcus Morris scoring 19 off the bench helped seal what became an 11-point win.

Both teams now have a few days off to head home and get settled before returning to game action. The 76ers will try to keep up their strong play against quality teams with a home matchup against the Raptors on Monday, while the Celtics will host the Pelicans on Tuesday.

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