Missing pair of stars, Celtics still sink Sixers

Jayson Tatum scored 29 points, including a 3-pointer with 1:11 remaining for an eight-point cushion, as the short-handed Boston Celtics defeated the host Philadelphia 76ers 117-107 on Wednesday night.

Derrick White added 27 points and Jrue Holiday contributed 18 points and 10 rebounds. Al Horford had 14 points and five blocked shots for the Celtics, who have won four games in a row.

Horford and Holiday each had a key blocked shot in the final 1:30.

The Celtics played without Jaylen Brown (non-COVID illness) and Kristaps Porzingis (knee).

Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey led the Sixers with 20 points apiece while Robert Covington, De’Anthony Melton and Tobias Harris each netted 16. Paul Reed scored 10 for the Sixers, who have dropped two games in a row after an eight-game winning streak.

The Sixers closed within 89-88 with 8:41 left when Melton knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner.

White immediately responded with a trey and added a short jumper for a 94-88 Celtics advantage with 7:47 left.

Tatum made two free throws with 3:14 remaining for a 107-100 edge.

The Celtics bolted out to a 37-22 lead at the end of the first quarter, but the Sixers sliced the deficit to 47-42 just over midway through the second.

Reed hit a rare 3-pointer with 4:37 left, and the Sixers trailed 49-45.

Harris converted a three-point play and a basket in the lane for the Sixers, who pulled ahead 53-52 with 2:05 remaining.

White scored for the Celtics on their next possession, and they went back ahead by one.

The Sixers led 58-57 at halftime thanks in large part to Harris’ team-high 12 first-half points.

Holiday paced the Celtics with 13.

The Celtics took a 78-73 advantage with 3:50 to go in the third quarter when Tatum knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing. Holiday soon hit a layup for a seven-point lead at 80-73.

Boston surged to an 83-75 lead at the end of the third.