Instant Replay: Sixers 111, Celtics 102


Instant Replay: Sixers 111, Celtics 102


BOSTON -- The Sixers claimed a 111-102 win over the Celtics at TD Garden Friday night.

The victory snapped the Sixers’ 13-game road losing skid. Their last win on the road also came in Boston, 95-94, at the buzzer.

Turning point
Michael Carter-Williams had just one steal in the game but it was crucial.

Carter-Williams swiped a Phil Pressey pass and sprinted to the other end for a bucket to push the Sixers’ lead up to seven points.

That gave the Sixers the breathing room they needed for the win.

Follow the leader
Carter-Williams finished with 24 points, six rebounds and six assists.

Henry Sims also scored 24 points to set a new career high. Sims added nine rebounds.

Rajon Rondo had a triple-double, but that can be expected. The Sixers didn’t appear ready for Jerryd Bayless.

Bayless made his 13th start of the season Friday for the injured Avery Bradley and took full advantage. Bayless scored a team-high 23 points in the game, making 5 of 12 shots from three-point range.

It marked the fourth time this season Bayless has scored at least 20 points.

The Sixers scored 35 fourth-quarter points with 10 coming from Sims and eight from Carter-Williams.

They shot 65 percent from the floor as a team in the final period, and they held the Celtics to 1 for 10 from beyond the arc in the frame.

Take a bow
Rondo has only appeared in 28 games this season since returning from a torn ACL, but that hasn’t changed his game when he is on the court.

Rondo had 11 points, 11 rebounds and 16 assists against the Sixers Friday night for his 19th career regular-season triple-double.

What’s next?
The Sixers return home to host the Brooklyn Nets Saturday night.

At their worst this year, the Nets were 11 games under .500 when they were 10-21. They have since posted a 30-13 record and clinched a playoff berth.

The Nets are currently the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference despite losing big man Brook Lopez for the rest of the season and Kevin Garnett missing significant time with a back injury.

Embiid and Okafor want to play together, but not just yet, says Brown

Embiid and Okafor want to play together, but not just yet, says Brown

CAMDEN, N.J. — If all goes as planned, a time will come when the Sixers can roll out a dominating frontcourt duo with Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor sharing the court in lengthy stretches.

That moment has to wait, though, as both Embiid and Okafor are on minute restrictions. As he returns from a knee injury, Okafor currently is coming off the bench and backing up Embiid.

“This conversation with Jahlil and Joel is more intelligent and applicable at a later date,” Brett Brown said at practice Friday. “When Jahlil’s minutes start going up and Joel can, then it’s a real conversation. I do think you may see them sooner than even I thought together. But as far as making it a real constant part of a strategy or rotation, it’s beyond too early days.”

In an ideal world, Brown could pair the two bigs now and use all of their allotted minutes (Embiid 20, Okafor 14) at once. That would leave an extensive workload on second-year bench player Richaun Holmes.

“This is a hot topic,” Brown said. “I will say it one more time: If I play Jahlil and Jo together, I hope Richaun can play 35 minutes.”

It’s an unrealistic expectation for Holmes, who averaged 13.8 minutes in 51 games last season. Brown caps the majority of the Sixers at six-minute segments to keep them competing at a high energy level.

“Right now, he’s a backup,” Brown said of Holmes. “I think he’s going to be an NBA player for a very long time. I just feel like in the role, he’s a second-year player that didn’t really have much of a role last year. He’s shown everybody that he’s for real. He really can play a role. At this early stage, that is the key word.”

Embiid and Okafor have been envisioning competing together since Okafor was drafted two years ago. They became friends long before they were NBA players and have an easy chemistry on the court as a result.

“I think it’s going to be exciting,” Embiid said. “We played a little bit together today in practice. We’re figuring out how to play with each other. It’s a process and we’ve got trust it.”

Yes, the players know they have to wait, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for them to resist an opportunity to play with one another.  

“I think once we figure it out, we can really dominate together,” Okafor said. “We were able to flirt with it again today. We accidentally keep ending up on the same team even though Coach keeps telling us to make sure we alternate. But we’re having fun. We’re trying to put some pressure on it because we want to play together.”

Is that accidentally with air quotes?

“Yeah, exactly,” Okafor said with a laugh.

'Trust the process' has a different, more personal meaning to Joel Embiid

'Trust the process' has a different, more personal meaning to Joel Embiid

CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid is all about trusting the process.

He manages to insert the well-known phrase into just about every interview, hashtags it on social media and soaks in the chants during games. 

While “trust the process” is commonly associated with former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie’s patience-required approach to building the team — which resulted in three years of dismal losing and suffering setback after setback — Embiid has his personal take on the mantra.

“I think I have my own process,” Embiid said Friday at practice.

Embiid is playing for the first time this season after waiting two years to recover from foot injuries. His long-anticipated debut was a focal point of “the process,” and his return to the court marked a new chapter in the organization.

“I went through two surgeries, lost my brother, thought about some stuff I shouldn’t have thought about, so that’s my own process,” he said. “And then the process of going through the rehab and finally getting back on the court and getting the chance to finally play in the league, that’s my process.”

Embiid is now synonymous with the word. He credits Sixers fans for the moniker, which he added to his Instagram profile. 

“I don’t think it came from me,” he said. “Fans just started and then I just went along with it.”

Wednesday marked the next step in the process, both for the Sixers and Embiid. His regular-season debut (20 points, seven rebounds, two blocks) was a long time coming and garnered buzz all over the NBA world.

“I was the third pick and then I missed two years,” Embiid said. “The excitement in the city, everybody’s happy to finally see me play. Even though it was weird because a lot of people kind of wrote me off a long time ago saying that I’d never play as a Sixer, I’d never play in the league. So it’s all fun. Everybody’s going to have an opinion.”

He’s just got to trust in his own.