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Sixers Hold on to Beat Irving-less Celtics

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Minutes before tonight’s game between the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics, Joel Embiid found out he would be a starter in the NBA All-Star game. For the next 48 minutes, Embiid showed the fans who voted for him that they made a great decision. Just a week after blowing a 22-point lead to Boston in London, Embiid posted a 26-point, 16-rebound and six-assist performance to lead the Sixers to an 89-80 win over the Kyrie Irving-less Celtics. The victory put the Sixers a game over .500, at 21-20, and in a virtual tie with the Detroit Pistons for the last playoff spot in the East. The win also marked the first time the Sixers beat the Celtics in four tries this season, and it gives them two straight wins over the the top two teams in the East after defeating Toronto on Monday.

In their first game without the injured J.J. Redick, Brett Brown tried a variety of combinations at the 2-guard spot. Jerryd Bayless started, and struggled. It seems that when Bayless misses a shot, he misses ugly! Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot took his turn, and was awful-to put it kindly. He shot four times in four minutes, missed them all and got stuffed twice. Justin Anderson was just ok. The player who really thrived tonight was backup point guard T.J. McConnell. McConnell had 15 points, was excellent down the stretch, and was on the floor at the end of the game along with Ben Simmons in the backcourt.

This game was far from flawless for the Sixers, who played outstanding defense, forcing the Celtics into 19 turnovers. The Sixers, for their part, turned the ball over 22 times, many of which were when they had a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter. Heard that story before? This time was a different result. The Celtics cut the lead to seven with 2:01 left after a Jayson Tatum 3-pointer, followed by some head-stretching decisions by Dario Saric. Some good defense, and clutch free throws by McConnell sealed the victory.

Philly returns home on Saturday to take on the Milwaukee Bucks (23-21) for the first time this season.

About Mike Small

Married for 23 years, and a father of four. Currently a Pharmaceutical Sales Leader, and contributor for TLSportsMedia, covering the Philadelphia 76ers and other relevant NBA topics. Previously worked as a television sports anchor in Eastern North Carolina, radio talk show host in Charlotte, North Carolina. Also served as the producer of "The Dean Smith Show", a weekly television show on The University of North Carolina basketball team, and "The Mack Brown Show", a weekly television show on the UNC football team-while doing all of the player features. Wrote a weekly column and articles for Carolina Blue Newspaper. Was also a contributor to, "A Season of Dreams", a book on the 1993 National Champion North Carolina Basketball Team.

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