Celtics bounce back with strong finishing kick to fend off Embiid-less Sixers
Kyrie Irving had a game-high 36 points. AP

KYRIE Irving took over anew in the fourth quarter as the Boston Celtics bounced back on the win track after holding off the Philadelphia 76ers, 108-97, on Thursday (Friday, Manila time) at the TD Garden.

With the Joel Embiid-less Sixers just behind by three early in the fourth, Irving sparked an 22-12 blitz to put the Celtics comfortably ahead, 103-90, with 1:25 left to play. Rookie Jayson Tatum traded baskets with Ben Simmons to keep the Sixers at bay as the league-leading Celtics improved to 19-4.

Irving finished with 36 points, hitting five triples, while Al Horford had an all-around performance with 18 markers, eight rebounds and five assists. Marcus Morris scored 17 off the bench while Tatum chipped in 15.

Dario Saric led the Sixers (12-9) with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while JJ Redick added 17. Simmons finished with 15 points, seven assists, six rebounds and five steals.

Embiid sat out as part of the team’s strategy to rest the young big man in the second half of a back-to-back schedule. The Sixers beat the Washington Wizards on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time). 

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