The Philadelphia 76ers rebounded from their tough loss to the Memphis Grizzlies with a 106-96 defeat of the Boston Celtics on Tuesday.
Joel Embiid dropped 35 points for the 76ers, who improve to 35-16 and are back in a tie with the Brooklyn Nets for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.
For the 25-26 Celtics, Jayson Tatum scored 20 points after a slow start, but it wasn't enough to push them over Philadelphia.
- Joel Embiid, 76ers: 35 PTS, 6 REB
- Danny Green, 76ers: 17 PTS (5-of-6 3PT), 2 REB, 2 STL
- Jayson Tatum, Celtics: 20 PTS, 4 AST, 4 REB
- Jaylen Brown, Celtics: 17 PTS, 3 REB
Even With Tatum, Celtics Can't Counter
Evan Fournier struggled to hit his stride in his first games with the Celtics following his trade from the Orlando Magic at the deadline.
After going 0-of-10 from the field in his debut, he recovered to score six points in his second game. But in his last two outings, he has been a crucial piece of a pair of Boston victories. He dropped 23 points in a defeat of the Houston Rockets on Friday, then added 17 in a defeat of the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday.
But as quickly as he got comfortable, Fournier was removed from the lineup to enter health and safety protocols for the second time since joining the team.
Luckily, though they were missing Fournier, the Celtics would have All-Star Jayson Tatum in the lineup—something they lacked in their earlier season losses to the 76ers.
The Celtics kept pace with Philadelphia through the first 12 minutes, even as they were whistled seven times and turned the ball over just as many.
They entered the second frame with a one-point deficit, which Philadelphia eventually broke open by going on a 13-0 run.
Boston had apparently gotten comfortable playing without Tatum, who was quiet in the first half. He posted five points, while Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown led the team with 10 apiece.
Part of their struggle was their inability to get to the line, as they went 5-of-6 on free throws. Embiid, on the other hand, had more than that on his own (7-of-8).
Tatum came alive in the second half, ending the night with 20 points, but his contributions were too little too late for a Celtics offense that let the game get away as it was outscored 34-22 in the second quarter.
In the end, the Celtics were limited to 47.1 percent shooting from the field and hit 41.2 percent from deep, even outshooting the 76ers from the line at 88.9 percent (though Philadelphia had more than double the attempts). Boston also turned the ball over 20 times, and Philadelphia capitalized to score 18 points on those turnovers.
Joel Embiid Is Just Too Much
It's simple. Joel Embiid is what sets the Philadelphia 76ers apart from any other team.
After missing 10 games with a bone bruise, he returned Saturday for the team's defeat of the Minnesota Timberwolves, then he sat Sunday as they fell to the Memphis Grizzlies. But he made up for lost time Tuesday, with an impressive 15-point performance in the first half as the Celtics struggled to find an answer for him.
The Celtics had to resort to 7'5" center Tacko Fall earlier than usual, sending him in before the break. That plan seemed to work, but he didn't see enough extended time to truly make a difference.
Fall entered Tuesday averaging 6.5 minutes through 14 appearances but ended up with nine minutes against Philadelphia.
Robert Williams III, who was originally tasked with keeping Embiid in check from center, couldn't hold him, and he fouled out with under 10 minutes to play.
While Embiid was lacking from deep, missing all four of his shot attempts from three in the first half, Danny Green was there to make up for it. He went 4-of-4 to end the half with 14 points.
Green added just one more three after his standout start, but it didn't matter. Embiid's 35 points gave Philadelphia the edge it needed over a Celtics team that couldn't keep up, or keep him down.
The Celtics will host the New York Knicks at 7:30 p.m. ET on Wednesday.
The 76ers will continue their road trip against the New Orleans Pelicans at 8 p.m. ET on Friday.