Instant Replay: Sixers 95, Celtics 94

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Instant Replay: Sixers 95, Celtics 94

BOX SCORE

BOSTON – The Sixers made sure their first meeting this season with the division rival Boston Celtics was an interesting one.

Evan Turner hit a tough layup in the lane at the buzzer to give the Sixers a 95-94 win over the Celtics. The win snapped a three-game skid for the Sixers and moved their record to 15-31.

Turning point
Kris Humphries missed a wide-open jumper with 11 seconds remaining that would have given the Celtics a three-point lead.

Michael Carter-Williams tracked down the rebound. The Sixers opted not to call a timeout and pushed the ball up the court. After crossing half court, Carter-Williams flipped the ball to Turner and let him take care of the rest.

Turner drove around his defended and hit a leaning layup as time expired for the win. He finished the game with 16 points on 6 of 17 shooting.

Follow the leader
Spencer Hawes carried the scoring load for the Sixers. He scored a team-high 20 points on 7 of 14 from the field, including 4 of 6 from three-point range.

Thaddeus Young added 16 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Massachusetts native Carter-Williams struggled in his return home. The rookie point guard had 10 points on 4 of 14 shooting. He did chip in with seven assists and five rebounds.

Second-year big man Jared Sullinger, freshly named to the NBA’s Rising Stars Challenge like MCW, led the Celtics in scoring and rebounds with 24 and 17, respectively. Jeff Green added 18 points for the Celtics.

Stat-egic
The Celtics’ bench dominated the Sixers’ reserves on Wednesday. Boston won the bench battle, 38-20.

Take a bow
James Anderson had 13 points, six rebounds and four assists. He was 5 of 7 from the floor in the game.

What’s next?
The Sixers return home to face the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night.

The Hawks are fourth in the Eastern Conference at 23-21, despite leading scorer Al Horford being out for the season with a torn right pectoral muscle.

Point guard Jeff Teague has more than picked up the slack, averaging 16.2 points and 7.3 assists a game.

Former Sixers Lou Williams, Elton Brand and Kyle Korver will be at the Wells Fargo Center to face their former team. Korver averages 12.0 points per game and is shooting 46.1 percent from three-point range. Williams comes off the bench to average 9.6 points a game. Brand is putting up 4.1 points and 3.8 boards a night.

The Hawks beat the Sixers 113-103 on Nov. 15 at Phillips Arena.

NBA Notes: Cavs-Warriors III joins past championship trilogies

NBA Notes: Cavs-Warriors III joins past championship trilogies

It never happened between Magic Johnson's Lakers and Larry Bird's Celtics. Same for Michael Jordan and Karl Malone or Jerry West and Bill Russell.

While there have been 14 rematches in NBA Finals history, this year's meeting between LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers and Stephen Curry's Golden State Warriors will be the first trilogy in league history.

After the Warriors beat the Cavs for their first title in 40 years in 2015, Cleveland got revenge last season with a comeback from 3-1 down to give the city its first major championship since 1964. Now they meet for the rubber match starting June 1 in Oakland.

While this may be unprecedented in the NBA, it has happened once before in the NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball with matchups that included some of those sports' biggest stars.

There was Babe Ruth vs. Frankie Frisch in the 1920s and then a pair of memorable three-peat matchups in the 1950s featuring Otto Graham against Bobby Layne in the NFL and Gordie Howe against Maurice Richard in the NHL.

Warriors: Durant once team’s 2nd choice
Truth be told, Golden State's former coach wasn't sure the Warriors needed Kevin Durant.

The Warriors were already small-ball sensations, capable of piling up the points with their daring drives and sizzling shooting. So rather than add another scorer, Don Nelson figured Golden State might be better off getting a dominant man in the middle to shore up the defense in the 2007 NBA draft.

Nelson thought the Warriors needed Greg Oden.

That was 10 years ago, leading up to the heavily hyped draft in which the Oden-Durant debate raged throughout basketball. And now, as Durant leads the league's most potent team into the NBA Finals while Oden is long gone from the NBA spotlight, it's easy to forget that a lot of people agreed with Nelson.

"I think everyone felt that there were two players there that were going to be prominent players, but one thing you can't count on is injuries," Warriors executive Jerry West said. "So Greg really never had a chance to have a career, where Kevin's obviously been more than advertised."

Celtics: Thomas unsure if he’ll need surgery
Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas wanted to keep playing in the Eastern Conference finals, but team doctors and officials convinced him he needed to shut down his season for his long-term health.

"They had multiple people come in and talk to me about what's more important," Thomas said Friday, a day after the Celtics were eliminated by the Cleveland Cavaliers. "But I definitely wasn't trying to hear that at that point in time."

Thomas injured the hip in March and aggravated it in the second-round series against Washington. He played three halves against the Cavaliers before limping off the court in the middle of Game 2.

The Celtics lost that game by 44 points to fall behind 0-2 in the best-of-seven series, then announced the next day that Thomas was done for the season. Still, they beat the Cavaliers in Cleveland the next game before falling easily in Games 4 and 5.

"Eastern Conference finals, that's the biggest stage I've ever been on," Thomas said at the team's practice facility in Waltham, Massachusetts. "To not be able to go back out there in that second half and continue that series was painful. Like it hurt me."

Speaking for the first time since the end of his season, Thomas said he might need surgery but it's "not the No. 1 option right now." He will have to wait for more tests until the swelling goes down, he said (see full story).

Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

Report: Brett Brown accuses longtime friend of defrauding him of $750,000

Sixers head coach Brett Brown is in Australia this week, where he has accused longtime friend and former Australian men's national team assistant coach Shane Heal of defrauding him of $750,000, according to the Australian Associated Press.

Brown invested $250,000 into each of three companies for which Heal was the sole director. Brown wasn't given a legal title regarding the companies and didn't know the specifics of how the money would be used.

"I assumed that the money was going to be used for what Shane told me it was going to be used for," Brown said. "Because it was a friend that I had for 25 years."

Heal was charged last year by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission following an investigation relating to alleged misconduct in 2008, 2009 and 2010, according to the AAP.

The sides return to court in Brisbane on July 20.

Heal played in the NBA for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1996-97 and was with the San Antonio Spurs in 2003.