Celtics use big 2nd half to hold off 76ers 110-106

Celtics' Al Horford, during the third quarter. Maddie Meyer / Getty Images

BOSTON (AP) — Three-pointers have been plentiful for the Boston Celtics recently. And they continue to add up to wins.

Avery Bradley had 26 points and nine rebounds and the Celtics set a franchise record with 19 3-pointers in their 110-106 comeback victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night.

Isaiah Thomas added 24 points, and Al Horford scored 14 of his 19 points — including a pivotal late 3 — in the final period. The Celtics have won nine out of their last 11 and four straight at home. They are 53 of 103 from beyond the arc in their last three.

‘‘Once I came back in the game (in the fourth quarter), I got a look early and it felt really good,’’ Horford said. ‘‘I was just kind of in a zone there. Guys kept finding me and I kept knocking them down.’’


Joel Embiid led Philadelphia with 23 points, and Ersan Ilyasova added 20.

Philadelphia led by as many as 14 in the first half before the Celtics tied it and took the lead early in the fourth quarter.

After sitting out practice Thursday with the flu, Embiid was on a 28-minute limit Friday. He made the most of his time, adding eight rebounds and six assists.

It was tied at 104 with less than a minute when Embiid hit a pair of free throws to put the 76ers in front.

But Horford got wide open in the corner on the Boston’s ensuing possession and hit a 3 with 17.2 seconds left. The Celtics nearly stole Philadelphia’s inbounds pass after the timeout, then Amir Johnson rebounded a rushed jumper by Ilyasova and was fouled.

Ilyasova had one more chance in the closing seconds, but came up with air on his 3-point attempt.

‘‘I thought I didn’t get the ball enough in the third. We weren’t just moving the ball,’’ Embiid said. ‘‘I thought we were moving the ball when we were scoring, so I was just being a playmaker and just moving the ball.’’

Boston picked things up in the second half after the 76ers dominated early.


Embiid scored 17 points in the first half and Sixers fans at TD Garden chanted ‘‘Trust the process! Trust the process!’’ at times as Philadelphia surged in front.

Embiid was the engine, getting free for some dunks on offense and altering shots on the defensive end.

He joked during the team’s shoot around Friday morning that he wanted an opportunity to guard Thomas on defense.

Embiid got the chance a few times in the first half, getting Thomas on defensive switches. Thomas got a layup and drew a foul on one occasion, but failed to convert on the free throw.

The comments weren’t missed by Thomas, who had a light moment with Embiid after the play.

‘‘He said he was going to guard me on the switch, I just said, ‘Nobody can stop me on the switch. Especially not your big (butt).’ He started laughing,’’ Thomas said.


76ers: T. J. McConnell had a career-high 15 assists. … Held a 30-6 scoring advantage in the paint in the first half.

Celtics: Thomas has scored 20 or more points in 20 straight games. … Improved to 17-9 when scoring 100 or more points. … Outrebounded an opponent for only the eight time this season. They are 8-0 in those games.



76ers rookie F Ben Simmons made his first road trip with the team this season since suffering a fractured right foot during Philadelphia’s final training camp scrimmage back in September. During Friday’s morning shoot around at the team’s hotel the No. 1 overall draft pick did some running and went through some light drills with trainers.


Stevens said he expected F Jae Crowder to respond well Friday after he offered some choice works on Twitter following Tuesday’s win Utah. Crowder took issue with Boston fans who cheered for Jazz forward Gordon Hayward, who could be a free agent this summer. He has since deleted most of the tweets and apologized on Thursday.

Crowder received a loud cheer from the TD Garden fans during pregame player introductions.

‘‘I’ve never been through a situation like that,’’ Crowder said. ‘‘I didn’t anticipate nothing. I didn’t think about nothing. But I’m ready to put it behind us.’’


76ers: At Brooklyn on Sunday.

Celtics: Host New Orleans on Saturday night.