The Philadelphia 76ers have played the Boston Celtics closely this season with nothing but losses to show for their efforts. That changed Sunday at Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers topped the Celtics 105-99 in the teams’ fourth and final meeting of the season. In doing so, Philadelphia ended its 10-game losing streak against Boston and snapped their rivals’ three-game winning run. Boston will be disappointed at the result, having surrendered a 13-point lead in the second half as Philadelphia rallied for the comeback victory.
Isaiah Thomas’ absence due to a knee injury was a key factor in the outcome, as the Celtics struggled to score in the fourth quarter.
Al Horford capably shouldered some of the responsibility in scoring a season-high 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting. But his teammates struggled from the floor, as Jae Crowder, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier shot a combined 10 for 37 from the field.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia’s Dario Saric scored 23 points to help the Sixers’ overcome deficit. His scoring outburst set the stage for Nik Stauskas to score the fateful three-pointer, which gave the Sixers a six-point lead with 38 seconds left.
With a healthy Thomas, the Celtics might have been able to stave off the Sixers’ charge. But the All-Star guard wasn’t available, and the other Celtics weren’t hitting their shots down the stretch.
Boston missed the opportunity to gain ground on the idle Cleveland Cavaliers and remains two games behind the Eastern Conference leaders.
The Celtics fall to 44-26 with the loss, while the Sixers improve to 26-43.
Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley, Jae Crowder, Amir Johnson, Al Horford
PLAY OF THE GAME
Horford’s block and dunk were bright spots in the third quarter.
The Celtics will return home Monday when they face the Washington Wizards in the first of a six-game homestand. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Thumbnail photo via John Geliebter/USA TODAY Sports Images
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