Celtics lose Jaylen Brown, hold on to beat Sixers 106-99
BOSTON (AP) — With three of Boston’s regular starters out — and Jaylen Brown soon to join them — Malcolm Brogdon and Derrick White scored 19 points apiece to lead the Celtics to a 106-99 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
Jayson Tatum had 12 points, nine assists and eight rebounds for Boston, which won for the fourth time in five games to add to the NBA’s best record (39-16). The 76ers (34-19) are second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference, having lost both matchups with the Celtics this season.
Joel Embiid scored 28 points and James Harden added 26 points and 11 assists for the Sixers, who lost their second game in a row. They had won nine of their previous 11.
Marcus Smart, Robert Williams III and Al Horford all missed the game with injuries. Blake Griffin got the start and hit five 3-pointers for a season-high 15 points, and Grant Williams scored 15 points and added eight rebounds.
The Celtics led 98-87 midway through the fourth quarter before Matisse Thybulle and Harden hit back-to-back 3-pointers to key an 8-0 run.
With about three minutes left and Boston inbounding the ball with 0.5 seconds on the shot clock, White found Luke Kornet for the alley-oop, then White hit a 3-pointer the next time down as the Celtics pulled away.
Brown, who missed the previous game with a non-COVID illness, left the game after colliding with Tatum under the basket when they were both going for an offensive rebound.
Brown appeared to take Tatum’s elbow in the left side of his head. He went to the floor and was slow to get up; when he did, he went straight to the locker room, rubbing his left eye and temple.
The team announced at the start of the third quarter that he had a facial contusion and would not return.
The Celtics were without Al Horford (swollen right knee), Robert Williams III (sprained left ankle) and Marcus Smart (sprained right ankle). The No. 9 Duke women’s basketball team attended the game, a night before they are scheduled to play Boston College. Duke coach Kara Lawson spent 2020 as a Celtics assistant. … Griffin’s season-highs had been three 3-pointers made and 13 points. ... Embiid picked up a technical foul in the second quarter.
76ers: Host the Knicks on Friday.
Celtics: Host Charlotte on Friday.
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Jimmy Golen, The Associated Press