PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia 76ers are embracing a new start as they beat the Boston Celtics 106-103 at home in the National Basketball Association (NBA) on Wednesday night, thanks to Joel Embiid’s 27 points and 10 rebounds while Tyrese Maxey contributed 25 and nine respectively.
The Sixers headed into this season on the back of a summer of upheaval.
Following a play-off collapse in which they blew Games 6 and 7 to the Celtics and lost 4-3, coach Doc Rivers was fired and replaced by Nick Nurse, while James Harden demanded a trade and eventually left for the Los Angeles Clippers.
“New coach, new systems, bunch of new guys, just trying to get everybody up to speed,” Embiid said following the revenge win over Boston. “Let’s see what we can do.
“Boston got a lot better. They looked like they’re the best team in the NBA, by far. Good for them.
“Milwaukee (Bucks), too, Obviously, adding Dame (Damian Lillard) is huge. He’s amazing. That combination of Dame and Giannis (Antetokounmpo), pretty good. Unstoppable.”
Philadelphia improved to 6-1 and lead the Eastern Conference ahead of the Bucks and the Celtics – both on 5-2.
Tobias Harris scored 17 points and Kelly Oubre Jr contributed 14 for the Sixers, who won their sixth game in a row following a one-point loss to the Bucks in their season opener.
Kristaps Porzingis led the Celtics with 29 points, Derrick White added 19 and Jayson Tatum had 16 points and 15 rebounds.
Trailing 106-103, Boston had a chance to tie the game, but Porzingis missed a three-pointer with 6.2 seconds left.
“It was a really good look,” he said. “I kind of went into it as it was a mid-range shot. I jumped a little higher. I usually don’t do that for threes. I just shot it bad.”
Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla, meanwhile, had no complaints as his side lost their second straight.
“Any time you’re playing against a great team, like Maxey and Embiid, if you’re down 10, you’re down 15 to 18 because of their ability to make shots,” he said.
In Milwaukee, the Bucks overcame Antetokounmpo’s ejection and a 10-point, fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Detroit Pistons 120-118, led by Lillard’s 34 points.
Antetokounmpo was whistled for a technical in the first quarter and picked up another three minutes into the second half, triggering an automatic ejection.
In other games on Wednesday, Nikola Jokic scored 35 points as the Denver Nuggets defeated the Golden State Warriors 108-105 in a blockbuster showdown between the two NBA heavyweights.
Grayson Allen had 26 points while nailing a career-high eight three-pointers, while Kevin Durant added 25 points to lift the visiting Phoenix Suns to a 116-115 overtime victory against the Chicago Bulls.
Jalen Green scored a game-high 28 points while Alperen Sengun chipped in 19 as the Houston Rockets extended their winning streak to four games with a 128-94 wire-to-wire home victory over the injury-ravaged Los Angeles Lakers.
Bam Adebayo scored a season-high 30 points and added 11 rebounds to fuel the visiting Miami Heat to a 108-102 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Heat star had celebrated Miami’s first 20-rebound triple-double in Monday’s 108-107 win over the Lakers, but it turned out to be premature after an NBA statistical review took away one of the rebounds he had been credited with.
“My first reaction was ‘That’s a buzzkill’,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said on Wednesday before the Heat’s game against the Grizzlies. “Come on! He was doing a big-muscle workout on the glass. Let it go.
“Was it a tip, or whatever? That’s 20 rebounds in my book.”
On the play in question, Adebayo blocked a shot and the ball ultimately landed with teammate Duncan Robinson, who was belatedly credited with the rebound.
“It’s whatever,” Adebayo said. “I’ve seen a lot of dudes get their stats padded and nobody bats an eye. But it’s all good.
“I’ll do it again.” REUTERS
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