By Jeffrey Pratt 02/12/2019
The Boston Celtics got back in the win column Tuesday night in Philadelphia as they took down a healthy, new-look 76ers Sixers squad 112-109.
The Celtics, who were without All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, relied on veterans Gordon Hayward (26 points, 6/7 from 3) and Al Horford (23) to carry the scoring load. Jayson Tatum (20) and Marcus Morris (17) also reached double figures. The 76ers Sixers were very active at the trade deadline, acquiring fringe All-Star Tobias Harris to join Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler.
Marcus Morris ignited the offense in the first quarter, scoring eight points in a matter of minutes. Hayward gave Boston a boost off the bench at the end of the first as well with a pair of threes. As a team, Philly shot 8/19 in the opening quarter. Despite the poor shooting performance, the Celtics only found themselves up five after the first quarter.
The second quarter was a defensive battle in which Boston remained on top. The Celtics forced ten first-half turnovers and were able to capitalize on these mistakes with transition threes. Horford (9) and Tatum (8) carried the scoring load in the second. The Celtics led 54-46 at the half.
The Sixers jumped out to a 16-4 run in the opening minutes of the third, earning a ten-point lead. Then, Philly’s offense went scoreless for the final four minutes of the quarter. Hayward led the comeback effort with nine points in the last eight minutes of the quarter.
Boston went 7 for 8 from the field to start the final quarter, as back-to-back threes from Tatum and Rozier opened up a six-point lead Celtics lead with five minutes left. Embiid scored 15 points in the fourth quarter to keep Philadelphia in the game, but Hayward continued his stellar shooting, hitting three more from behind the arc. The 76ers simply could not keep up with the Celtics scoring., and a pair of Tatum free-throws put the game out of reach. The Celtics have now won three straight games against Philadelphia.
This much-needed win for the Celtics comes after back-to-back blown 20-point leads against the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. Boston will look to stay in form, as a matchup with the Milwaukee Bucks looms next week, a team that leads the Eastern Conference standings.