The shorthanded Boston Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night to take over the top spot in the Eastern Conference.
Despite missing Kristaps Porzingis and Jaylen Brown, Joel Embiid’s Sixers couldn’t stop Jayson Tatum and the Celtics from beating them by 10 at Wells Fargo Center.
The loss is the second straight for Philly who dropped a 132-126 decision to the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. When asked if the schedule had any bearing on the back-to-back losses, Embiid dropped a truth that would shock anyone outside of New England.
“Yeah, it’s tough playing especially playing Indiana twice and then on back-to-back playing the best team in the league,” Embiid said on NBC Sports Boston’s postgame coverage. “That’s tough, but no excuses. We still have to be better and I have to be better.”
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Just last week the Sixers beat the Celtics in a close game, handing the Green their first set of back-to-back losses on the season so that is a pretty strong statement from the reigning league MVP.
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In the first matchup with the Celtics, Embiid dropped 27 points and collected 10 rebounds for the double-double followed by Tyrese Maxey’s 25 points and nine rebounds. Philadelphia capitalized on the boards with a 13-rebound edge (56-43) which led to second-chance points for the Sixers.
In Wednesday night’s rematch, the Celtics held Embiid and Maxey to 20 points apiece and outrebounded the Sixers 45-41. Boston was led by Jayson Tatum with 29 points and Al Horford who came up big defensive for the Celtics with five blocks, including a big block of a driving layup by Maxey that ended with a Derrick White three at the other end of the court to put the Celtics up seven late in the fourth quarter.