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Tatum-less Celtics fall to the Sixers 117-109

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Several players had season-highs in points, but it wasn’t enough to overcome Joel Embiid.

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Three Celtics set season-highs in points tonight, but the Boston Celtics took a 117-109 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers after falling apart in the fourth quarter. Jaylen Brown finished with 26 points to lead the Celtics, and Joel Embiid was stellar per usual for the Sixers with a career-high against Boston 42 points and 10 rebounds in 32 minutes.

I’m going to talk about Daniel Theis (season-high 23 points and 11 rebounds) for a moment. He typically is not a great matchup for the Sixers, but tonight with less minutes directly against Joel Embiid, he was a big part of the second-quarter push to help the Cs gain some steam. He and Walker combined for 30 first half points, and their chemistry gave the team a big boost. Marcus Smart (season-high 25 points on 52.6% from the field) had a poor first quarter (he hasn’t been on his offensive game in recent outings), but he rebounded in a big way the rest of the game as an offensive pillar for the team.

The Sixers started Tyrese Maxey in place of Seth Curry, who, like Jayson Tatum, is ramping back up to game speed after contracting COVID-19. Maxey didn’t do much in place of Curry, but Tobias Harris was a good Robin to Embiid’s Batman, posting 22 points. Ben Simmons (11-8-8) didn’t score well but had his signature all-around impact. Is that what the Sixers need, though? I’ll leave that one unanswered (no, it’s not).

Every time Javonte Green checks in, he does something insanely cool. Woo has to lead the league in insanely cool plays per minute. Don’t fact check me

This is the third game Stevens has gone to Grant Williams and Tristan Thompson in the starting lineup, and it appears to be more effective than the double big lineup. Interestingly, despite being cleared, Robert Williams III didn’t see the floor. Philly isn’t a great matchup for him, but we’ll see if he gets minutes with Tatum on Friday if the latter is back because of their ridiculous net rating together.

The Celtics had no flow in the fourth quarter offensively, and that, in combination with Embiid living at the freethrow line, really killed the Celtics down the stretch. If Tatum is back on Friday, that would be a big help. Boston can enjoy the silver lining of the fact that without Tatum and with Kemba on a minutes restriction, they played the Sixers pretty much even for most of the game.

Hopefully, they won’t be without Tatum next time.

If you’re feeling down about this loss, enjoy this play from Jaylen Brown in which he effectively shoved Ben Simmons into a locker:

The Celtics take on the 76ers once again on Friday on ESPN at 7:30 PM EST.