The Sixers have taken back-to-back games against the Boston Celtics with a 122-110 victory. After trailing in the first quarter, the Sixers went on to outscore the Celtics in the remaining three quarters. Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris combined for 76 points on 28 made field goals. Boston was without Jayson Tatum, but Jaylen Brown carried the load with 42 points.
Embiid continued his torrid season with 38 points and 11 rebounds, while going 14-15 from the line. The painful struggles against Boston feel like distant memories. Embiid has 80 points in his last two games, both against the longtime-rival. Tobias Harris anchored the Sixers’ bench lineups while Embiid sat. Harris was 10-12 from the floor in his 41 minutes, with 23 points. The Sixers needed the lessen Embiid’s workload and Harris was a huge factor. His shots were within the flow of the offense and contrary to his past seasons as a Sixer, they were quality looks. After one shot attempt in the first half, Ben Simmons had a tremendous fourth quarter. He had 9 points in the final frame, including a five-point surge made up of an “and-1” finish followed by a steal and slam. Simmons operated with a different demeanor and was getting downhill late in the game.
Seth Curry chipped in 15 points in his first game returning from his COVID-19 diagnosis. The Sixers fared well without him, but having an elite shooter on the floor is a huge boost. Curry was 3-5 from deep, which mirrors his season average of 59-percent. The second unit received major contributions from Dwight Howard and Matisse Thybulle. Howard pulled down 12 rebounds and threw his weight around down low. Thybulle arguably put together his best game of the season. 9 points, two blocks, and pesky defense on Kemba Walker. His rotation spot looked to be in limbo but with performances like these, he’ll have more minutes ahead.
Jaylen Brown was burning the Sixers all night long. 15 of his 42 points were from three. His backcourt of Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker scored 20 and 19, respectively. No other Celtics scored in double-figures. Daniel Theis and Javonte Green were closest with 7 points apiece.
The Sixers earned a victory through two key avenues; Joel Embiid and their 42-28 third quarter. Draw up any scheme you want. Send double teams. It doesn’t matter. The Celtics don’t have a soul on their roster that can hold a candle to Joel Embiid. Rob Williams isn’t strong enough, Theis is too small, and Thompson isn’t athletic enough. The Boston defense is bending over backwards trying to force Embiid to give up the ball, and he’s just too much to handle.
The past several years have shown us some dreadful third quarters, but the Sixers zoomed past the Celtics in a 12-minute stretch that may have decided the game. Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid hit back to back triples within the first minute of the second half which set the tone for the remainder of the quarter. Boston wasn’t hitting shots and the Sixers took full advantage of their diluted offense.
The Sixers’ victory adds to their top place in the Eastern Conference and adds to the Celtics’ three game losing skid. The Sixers will take on the Detroit Pistons Saturday and the Celtics will host the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday.