Thursday, February 9, 2023

Celtics 106, 76ers 99: Malcolm Brogdon, Derrick White come up big to hold off Sixers

The shorthanded Celtics held off the Philadelphia 76ers in a 106-99 win Wednesday night at TD Garden.

Derrick White started in place of Marcus Smart (right ankle sprain) for the eighth straight game to finish with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting, 3-of-6 from deep, six rebounds and two blocks. Malcolm Brogdon also registered 19 points on 7-of-12 from the floor and 2-of-2 from 3 to lead the C's to a bounce back victory.

Aside from Smart already being sidelined, Boston was also without Al Horford (right knee) and Robert Williams (left ankle sprain), before Jaylen Brown -- who missed the team's 111-99 loss to the Detroit Pistons with an non-COVID illness -- left the game late in the first half, after colliding with Jayson Tatum as they were both going for an offensive rebound under the hoop.

It appeared that Brown took an elbow from Tatum to the left side of his face, immediately falling to the floor. Brown was slow to get up, but once he did, he ran straight into the locker room covering his left eye and rubbing his head. The Celtics ruled Brown (2-of-9) out prior to the start of the third quarter with a facial contusion.

Meanwhile Grant Williams and Blake Griffin both started in the frontcourt, scoring 15 points each and combining on 9-of-14 from beyond the 3-point arc, while Tatum struggled offensively (5-of-15 from the field, 1-of-5 from 3) with only 12 points -- to go along with eight rebounds and nine assists.

Joel Embiid had 28 points (11-of-22), seven rebounds and James Harden added 26 points (8-of-14), 11 assists to lead the 76ers, who fell to 34-19 (third in the East) on the season -- losing to Boston for the second time.
"Boston has beaten us twice, and Boston won the East last year. Boston is the best team in the East. I said that before," Sixers coach Doc Rivers said in his postgame presser. "It's our job to prove that wrong. But we have a lot of time to do that."
The Celtics were ahead 47-35 (the largest margin of the night) with 5:04 left in the second period, before the lead shrank to 59-55 at the break. The 76ers tied it up (64-64) within the first three minutes of the third quarter, but Boston responded with eight unanswered points in the middle of a 13-5 run and took a 79-86 advantage into the final frame.

A Sam Hauser (14 points, eight rebounds off the bench) 3-pointer -- his fourth of the night on a perfect 4-of-4 from long distance -- put the Boston up 95-85 with 8:20 left to play. Despite Philly's last rally attempt by outscoring the home team 14-9 to finish the game, where they only got within three (98-95), the Celtics used a 8-4 spurt in the final 3:16 to put away the Sixers and hand them their second consecutive loss after winning nine in a row.

Following the game, Embiid spoke about Boston's depth being the difference maker, as the Sixers' second unit was outscored 41-21.
"Jayson didn't have a good night, but you got other guys stepping up knocking down 3s," said Embiid during his postgame comments. "Hauser coming off the bench, Brogdon had 19, Derrick White has been great the whole season and Grant Williams, he was great tonight. They're deep."
The Celtics (39-16) host the Charlotte Hornets (15-41) Friday night and ESPN (not sure why) will have the tip-off at 7:30 ET.

Game Notes:

Boston hit 52.6% of their field goals, including connecting on 54.3% (19-of-35) from 3-point territory, while the Sixers were 44.6% from from the floor and 32.3% (10-of-31) from deep. The Celtics out-rebounded Philadelphia 44-37, but were outscored in the paint 38-36. The C's finished with 25 assists on 40 baskets to the 76ers' 20 dimes on 37 made shots.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of The Boston Globe

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