The Philadelphia 76ers won’t have much time to dwell on their 132-126 loss Tuesday to the Indiana Pacers in the NBA in-season tournament.
A night after seeing their eight-game winning streak snap, the 76ers host the rivel Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
Joel Embiid hit all 17 free throws and finished with 39 points and 12 rebounds. De’Anthony Melton scored 30 points, Tyrese Maxey added 27 and Tobias Harris had 22.
But while the Sixers pulled within four twice in the final 30 seconds, it wasn’t enough.
“We couldn’t get away and build any kind of lead,” Sixers head coach Nick Nurse said. “Sometimes the ball does not bounce your way.”
Two nights earlier, Maxey scored a career-high 50 points against the Pacers. While Maxey didn’t repeat the feat, he was still quite effective and continued to perform well since James Harden was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. Though he shot 9 of 23 from the field, Maxey added five assists and four rebounds in the loss.
“He still played pretty good,” Nurse said of Maxey. “You play 82, some nights you have it rolling, some night not, some nights in the middle.”
“He pushes the pace, make or miss,” Melton said of Maxey.
Harris appeared to strain his neck when he collided with Bruce Brown with 10:40 remaining in the fourth quarter. Following a quick trip to the locker room, Harris returned. His status is unclear for the game against the Celtics.
Embiid was listed as questionable with left hip soreness but put together another impressive performance. It’s also unknown if Embiid will be available in the back-to-back scenario.
The Celtics, meanwhile, will be looking for their fourth consecutive victory.
Boston handily defeated the New York Knicks 114-98 on Monday.
Jayson Tatum (35 points), Jaylen Brown (22), and Kristaps Porzingis (21) each scored at least 20 for the second consecutive game.
But Porzingis is listed as questionable for the game against the Sixers with a right knee contusion.
Tatum missed seven of his first eight 3-pointers but rallied to shoot 13 of 23 overall, scoring 17 points in the fourth quarter.
“I’ve played enough games, had enough tough shooting nights,” Tatum said. “All really, really good scorers know it just takes one to change your momentum, change how you feel about yourself shooting the ball. And once you see one go in, you just feel a lot better about yourself.”
The Celtics struggled as a team offensively before surging in the fourth.
“If I could come up with another shot besides a three or a layup, I’ll do it,” Boston head coach Joe Mazzulla said. “You can’t kick it in. I mean, we couldn’t throw it in the ocean.”
After a difficult matchup against a longtime rival, the schedule doesn’t get any easier with a clash against another bitter rival in the Sixers.
“I love games like this, because it’s going to reveal who we are, what we’ve been doing and where we need to get better,” Mazzulla said. “You’re not playing as well as you can be, and you’re only down one. You’ve got to be thankful for that, because it could be a lot worse. And I thought our guys just stuck with it, with the right mindset.”
–Field Level Media
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