NBA Basketball

Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Boston 33 19 28 30 110
Philadelphia 25 24 42 31 122
4:30 PM PT5:30 PM MT6:30 PM CT7:30 PM ET0:30 GMT8:30 5:30 PM MST7:30 PM EST4:30 UAE (+1)01:3019:30 ET6:30 PM CT22:30 , January 22, 2021
Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

High-flying Embiid, Sixers face Celtics again

According to STATS
According to STATS

Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76ers

  1. The 76ers beat the Celtics on Wednesday, 117-109, their fourth straight home win over Boston. The last time the 76ers won four consecutive home games against the Celtics was March 2011 -- December 2012. The last time they won five straight at home versus Boston was December 1999 -- December 2001.
  2. The Celtics are shooting 41.9 percent on three-pointers in wins this season compared to 27.5 percent in losses -- the largest difference in the NBA. Boston is averaging 119.9 points in wins compared to 95.8 in losses -- the NBA's second-largest difference (Cleveland -- 25.7).
  3. Daniel Theis had 23 points and 10 rebounds off the bench on Wednesday, while going 10-for-11 from the field. He is the only player this season to have 20+ points, 10+ rebounds and a 90.0+ field-goal percentage in a game and is the only reserve to post those numbers in the last five seasons.
  4. Including Wednesday's win, the 76ers are 37-3 in Philadelphia since the start of last season, the best home record in the NBA in that span. They have won 18 consecutive games versus Eastern Conference opponents in Philadelphia.
  5. Joel Embiid had 42 points and 10 rebounds in the win, his 10th career 40-10 game and his second in his last three contests. He had 22 points in the first half and is averaging 14.6 PPG prior to halftime this season, second most in the NBA behind Bradley Beal (17.9; minimum 70 percent of team games played).
  6. Philadelphia outscored Boston by 14 points in the fourth quarter on Wednesday, 31-17. The 76ers lead the NBA this season in fourth-quarter scoring differential, outscoring opponents by an average of 3.7 points in the final frame, while the Celtics rank last with an average fourth-quarter margin of -3.0.

Joel Embiid has risen from All-Star to an NBA Most Valuable Player candidate.

Following a strict offseason conditioning program, Embiid has led the Philadelphia 76ers to the top of the Eastern Conference.

Embiid's 42 points and 10 rebounds helped propel the Sixers past the visiting Boston Celtics 117-109 on Wednesday. He'll attempt to maintain such a level of excellence when the two teams meet again Friday in Philadelphia.

Embiid was 12 of 19 from the field and 17 of 21 from the free-throw line for his 10th career game of at least 40 points and 10 rebounds. Embiid and Washington's Bradley Beal are the only two players in the league with multiple 40-point games this season.

"For sure, he is MVP-caliber," teammate Tobias Harris said of Embiid. "Night after night, he controls the game, controls the paint. More than anything, defensively he is just a force for us."

Even with the Celtics sending double-teams Embiid's way, he sliced through the defense to the basket or made the proper pass. Tristan Thompson and Daniel Theis appeared to be frustrated by the end of the game.

"I love how he played tonight because he kind of let it come to him," Sixers coach Doc Rivers said. "With 40, that is hard to do. Every time they double-teamed him, he made the pass. Every time they didn't, he attacked."

The Sixers were swept by the Celtics in the first round of last season's playoffs in the Orlando bubble. Embiid hasn't forgotten the feeling.

"Losing to them in the playoffs and them being first in the East, you want to go out and you want to play against that competition," Embiid said. "You want to beat them."

Seth Curry missed Wednesday's game and his status is still unclear for the rematch due to the league's health and safety protocols.

The Celtics played well for large stretches and received 26 points from Jaylen Brown and 25 from Marcus Smart. But they clearly missed Jayson Tatum, who remains out due to COVID-19 protocols.

On Wednesday, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said Tatum has a "50-50 chance" of playing Friday.

What is known is this: the Celtics must figure out a way to slow down Embiid.

"We've got to do our best to play without fouling," Stevens said. "He's going to score some, but 42 is too much. It's going to be hard to win a game when the best player on the other team gets 42 points. You have to go back to how can we be better. He had a huge impact on the game. He was terrific."

Smart was particularly peeved with the disparity in free throws.

And he didn't mince words following the tough loss.

"(Embiid) shot alone himself 21 free throws?" Smart said. "Our team shot 20. Can't beat that. They shot 36 for 45. We shot 13 for 20. Hard to win that way. It's tough, especially when we've got our hands up a lot of the times and he flails and gets the call and down on the other end we've got our guys attacking the rim, getting a lot of contact and we're not getting the whistle. It's tough to play like that."

The Celtics did receive a huge lift from Kemba Walker, who hit five 3-pointers and scored 19 points in just his second game back from a knee injury.

"My movement is a lot better," Walker said. "I'm more comfortable just being me."

--Field Level Media

Updated January 22, 2021

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