Irving powers Celtics to victory over 76ers
BOSTON -- Kyrie Irving scored 36 points to power the Boston Celtics to a 108-97 victory over the undermanned but feisty Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.
Irving and Marcus Morris keyed a 17-7 fourth-quarter run that broke the game open and gave the Celtics a ninth win in their last 10 home games. It was also the seventh straight TD Garden victory for Boston (19-4) over Philadelphia (12-9).
Morris finished with 17 points off the bench, one off his season high. He scored six consecutive points late in the third quarter and then had seven more during the fourth-quarter spurt.
The big Celtics push came as the Sixers, playing the second game of a back-to-back and with big man Joel Embiid (22.9 points, 11.3 rebounds per game) resting and others hurt, ran out of gas.
Boston's Al Horford scored 21 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out five assists. Rookie Jayson Tatum added 15 points for the Celtics, who are 2-0 against the Sixers this season.
Dario Saric led Philadelphia with 18 points and 10 rebounds. J.J. Redick scored 17 points, and rookie Ben Simmons had 15 points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Robert Covington scored 11 points apiece, and Jerryd Bayless had 10 points.
Simmons, defended heavily throughout, also committed five turnovers.
Philadelphia stayed in the game by going 16-for-32 from 3-point range. The 76ers made only 19 2-pointers on 52 tries.
NOTES: Former Celtic F Amir Johnson started with 76ers C Joel Embiid resting. Johnson had six points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals. ... The Sixers were missing G Markelle Fultz and G T.J. McConnell, both out with shoulder injuries. Nik Stauskas (ankle) played for the first time since Nov. 7. ... Fultz, the No. 1 pick in the 2017 draft, has only played in only four games. ... Looking for more defense, Boston coach Brad Stevens inserted C Aron Baynes into the starting lineup for F Marcus Morris. ... Stevens on whether rookie F Jayson Tatum is better off playing for a contender in his first year. "I don't know if we're a contender. We're 22 games in." ... The Sixers, who just went 4-2 on a six-game homestand, also play the next three at home, starting with the Detroit Pistons on Saturday. The Celtics continue their four-game homestand with a Saturday matinee against the Phoenix Suns.