BOSTON — Joel Embiid scored 17 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter, hitting three jumpers in the final minutes and three free throws in the last four seconds to ice it as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Boston Celtics 108-103 on Monday night.
With both teams fighting COVID-19 outbreaks, Embiid also had 10 rebounds and a steal on the Celtics’ last-chance inbound pass while playing 40 minutes, 14 seconds – a season high for a game that didn’t go to overtime.
Joel Embiid was locked in down the stretch, folks 🔒 pic.twitter.com/ZfrpaGXWya
— NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) December 21, 2021
Jaylen Brown scored 30 points, Jayson Tatum had 17 and Enes Kanter Freedom had 15 points and 11 rebounds for the Celtics, who had seven players in COVID-19 protocol, with Robert Williams III a late scratch for personal reasons.
After trailing the entire first half, the Celtics took an 80-75 lead into the fourth quarter and went ahead 97-90 on Brown’s 3-pointer with 4:14 left. Matisse Thybulle hit a 3-pointer and then Embiid made a pair of foul shots.
Boston led 98-96 when Danny Green made a 3-pointer, and then Embiid made three straight mid-range jumpers to hold the Celtics at bay.
The game was delayed for seven minutes after the national anthem and before the introduction of the Celtics players when a fire alarm went off in the building, accompanied by an announcement telling the crowd it may need to evacuate. After a few minutes of people nervously looking around, the Celtics mascot began waving his arms to pump up the fans; the pregame festivities resumed soon after.
A TD Garden spokesman said the problem was a malfunctioning sprinkler head in a concession area in the balcony level and set off a fire alarm. Building operations coordinated with the Boston Fire Department before giving the all-clear.
The Celtics’ pregame injury list required a three-tweet thread to list everyone, with Al Horford, Jabari Parker, Josh Richardson, Brodric Thomas, Grant Williams, Juancho Hernangomez and Sam Hauser all in the COVID-19 protocol. Robert Williams III was also listed as out for personal reasons. Tatum (ankle), Romeo Langford (neck) and Dennis Schroder (non-COVID illness) were questionable but cleared to play. To fill out the roster, the Celtics signed 15-year NBA veteran C.J. Miles, who hadn’t appeared in a game in more than two years, to a 10-day contract.
The Sixers were without Andre Drummond, Shake Milton and Georges Niang because of COVID protocols, along with Tyrese Maxey (thigh bruise), Furkan Korkmaz (non-COVID illness), Jaden Springer (concussion protocol) and Ben Simmons, who hasn’t played all year while awaiting a possible trade.