Hay­ward scores 26, Celtics beat 76ers again 112-109

Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! -

Gor­don Hay­ward scored 26 points, in­clud­ing a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:50 re­main­ing, and Bos­ton beat Philadel­phia 112-109 on Tues­day night. Al Hor­ford had 23 and Jayson Ta­tum scored 20 and grabbed 10 re­bounds to help the Celtics con­tin­ued their dom­i­nance over the Six­ers.

Play­ing with­out All-Star point guard Kyrie Irv­ing, who sprained his right knee Satur­day night, the Celtics beat the Six­ers for the third straight meet­ing this sea­son af­ter de­feat­ing them in five games in the Eastern Con­fer­ence semi­fi­ing nals last sea­son.

“Against a very qual­ity op­po­nent was big, es­pe­cially on the road with­out Kyrie, it was huge,” Hay­ward said.

Joel Em­biid had 23 points and 14 re­bounds and Jimmy But­ler scored 22 for Philadel­phia.

Hay­ward’s 3 from the cor­ner put Bos­ton up 105-103 and Mar­cus Smart added a free throw. The Six­ers had a chance to tie when Jimmy But­ler went to the line for three free throws but he missed two. Af­ter a turnover, Em­biid lost the ball with un­der a minute left. Smart then blew past Ben Sim­mons for a dunk to ex­tend the lead to 108-104 with 24 sec­onds left. But­ler made a driv­ing layup and a free throw to cut it to 108-107.

Af­ter Hor­ford sank two free throws, To­bias Har­ris missed a 3 and Em­biid put it back in with only 2.4 sec­onds left. But­ler couldn’t get a des­per­a­tion 3 off in time be­fore the buzzer sounded as the Six­ers dropped their first game in three since ac­quir­ing Har­ris in a flurry of moves last week.

“This is a new team,” Sim­mons said. “There are things we’re go­ing to work on, things we need to get bet­ter at, but it’s a good test for us to see where we’re at with this new team. But I’m ex­cited with ev­ery­one we have and to see how far we can go.”

The Celtics an­swered the call in their first game since Mar­cus Mor­ris ques­tioned the team’s tough­ness af­ter they sur­ren­dered leads of 28 points to the Clip­pers and 18 points to the Lak­ers on their home court.

“Good teams have clunkers, but good teams re­spond to those with the right ef­fort and ap­proach,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said.

Both teams are tied for the fourth spot in the East with a 3621 record.

“We un­der­stood Philly’s been play­ing at a high level,” Hor­ford said. “We had dis­ap­point­ing losses at home. I felt like our backs were against the wall, so we all needed to come out and set the tone and we did that.”

Af­ter trail­ing for nearly the en­tire first half, the Six­ers opened the third quar­ter on a 9-0 run to take a 55-52 lead. JJ Redick’s 3-pointer capped the run. Min­utes later,

Sim­mons thrilled the crowd by dri­val­ready around Ta­tum and throw­ing down a thun­der­ous right-handed jam. But Ta­tum an­swered at the op­po­site end with a spin move around Em­biid and dunk over Sim­mons. NO TAM­PER­ING

The NBA said Los An­ge­les Lak­ers pres­i­dent Magic John­son did not break any league tam­per­ing rules when he spoke about pos­si­bly work­ing with Sim­mons in the off­sea­son. The in­ves­ti­ga­tion was ini­ti­ated af­ter it was re­vealed Sun­day that Sim­mons wanted to meet with John­son to talk about the art of be­ing an elite point guard. John­son com­pli­mented Sim­mons pub­licly on Sun­day. Six­ers GM El­ton Brand said Mon­day he told Sim­mons he wouldn’t al­low it. TIP-INS

Celtics: Im­proved to 14-13 on the road . ... Hor­ford was 6 for 23 from be­yond the arc over his last 10 games be­fore mak­ing 3 of 5 . ... Mor­ris had 17 points.

76ers: Fell to 23-7 at home . ... Em­biid was 9 of 22, in­clud­ing 2 of 8 from 3-point range . ... Har­ris was 0 for 6 be­yond the arc.

UP NEXT

Celtics: Host the Detroit Pis­tons on Wed­nes­day night.

76ers: Visit the New York Knicks on Wed­nes­day night.

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