BOSTON (AP) — Jaylen Brown had 32 points and nine rebounds, and Jayson Tatum scored nine of his 25 points in a 99-second span that gave Boston the lead for good as the Celtics cruised past the Philadelphia 76ers 116-95 on Saturday night.
Playing without injured point guard Kemba Walker, the Celtics beat Philadelphia for the first time this season, avoiding a sweep by the team right behind them in the Atlantic Division. It was Boston’s sixth win in its last seven games.
Ben Simmons scored 23 and ex-Celtic Al Horford had nine points and nine rebounds for the Sixers, who lost for the third time in five games. Joel Embiid scored 11, making just 1 of 11 shots and missing all four of the 3-pointers he attempted. Philadelphia missed its first seven 3-point attempts and made just six of its first 24 shots overall.
It was 7-6 with 9 minutes left in the first quarter when the Celtics scored 10 straight points — including nine in a row by Tatum. After Tobias Harris made a short jumper to halt the run, Tatum answered with a dunk over Horford that electrified the crowd. Tatum then stole the ball from Harris and fed Marcus Smart for a 3-pointer that gave Boston a 22-8 lead, its biggest of the quarter.
The Sixers cut it to 59-51 at the half, but then came out cold and failed to make a basket in the first 5 1/2 minutes of the third quarter. The 12-1 Boston run made it 71-53 and Philadelphia never got closer than 13.
Sixers: Simmons and Embiid are the first Philadelphia teammates to make the All-Star Game in consecutive seasons since Charles Barkley and Maurice Cheeks in 1987 and ‘88. … On Feb. 1, 1992, the 76ers beat Boston 126-110 behind Barkley’s 38 points and 11 rebounds. … Philly fell 9-17 on the road. It is 22-2 at home.
Celtics: Fans began shouting for 7-foot-5 rookie Tacko Fall starting in the third quarter. He entered to a standing ovation with 2:32 to play and made one basket. … Gordon Hayward was 1 for 11 from the floor for Boston, and Brown was 1 for 10 from 3-point range.
Walker missed the game with left knee soreness, joining center Enes Kanter (bruised hip) in absentia. But the Celtics had Tatum back on unrestricted minutes; he missed three games with a sore right groin and then returned on Thursday night to play 24 minutes against Golden State.
“Kemba is a short-term thing. We hope to get him back in the very near future. And Kanter is short-term,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “We’ll have time to be the best version of ourselves if we can get everyone back and healthy.”
Sixers: At Miami on Monday.
Celtics: At Atlanta on Monday.
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