EditorsNote: Minor edits for clarity
Josh Richardson scored 29 points, Ben Simmons added 19 points and nine rebounds and the host Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Boston Celtics, 109-98, on Thursday.
Al Horford contributed 17 points and Tobias Harris had 16 for the Sixers, who played without All-Star center Joel Embiid. Earlier in the day, it was announced that Embiid will have surgery Friday for a torn ligament on the fourth metacarpal on his left hand and be re-evaluated in one to two weeks.
The Sixers improved to 18-2 at home.
The Celtics were led by Kemba Walker with 26 points. Marcus Smart added 24 and Jayson Tatum had 15 points and 10 rebounds. Boston has dropped three in a row for the first time this season.
The Celtics bolted to a 51-36 lead with 5:05 left until halftime before the Sixers responded with a 12-0 run to get within three. But Boston finished the half with consecutive baskets and took a 55-48 lead into the locker room.
Smart and Walker scored 13 points apiece for the Celtics before the break. Richardson paced the Sixers with 15 points in 15 first-half minutes.
After a quick basket by Boston to open the third, the Sixers came back with an 11-0 spurt to move ahead 59-57. Harris’ hard-charging drive to the basket capped the run, prompting Celtics head coach Brad Stevens to take a timeout.
After the Sixers took a six-point lead, Tatum and Walker each hit a 3-pointer, and the game was tied at 69 with 4:49 remaining in the third.
The Celtics held an 80-77 advantage after three quarters, as Smart knocked down a deep trey from the wing with 4.2 seconds left.
Philadelphia regained the momentum and pushed ahead 94-87 with 6:02 to go when Horford completed a three-point play.
Simmons missed a dunk on the Sixers’ next possession, and Walker came back with a three-point play. Gordon Hayward then scored the next time down, and the Celtics got within 94-92 with 5:15 remaining.
After a hard foul by Smart, Richardson made two free throws for a 101-94 Philadelphia advantage with 3:08 left. On Philly’s next possession, the lefty Simmons dropped in a right-handed hook for a nine-point lead.
—Field Level Media