Joel Embiid had 27 points and 10 rebounds, Tyrese Maxey scored 25 points and the Philadelphia 76ers won their sixth straight game, 106-103 over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.
The 76ers are the only 6-1 team in the Eastern Conference and their lone loss came on opening night.
Kristaps Porzingis led the Celtics with 29 points and Derrick White, back after missing two games for the birth of his child, had 19.
The Sixers were amped for the first game between the long-time rivals since their Eastern Conference semifinal matchup last season.
The 76ers blew a 3-2 series lead and collapsed in Game 6 and 7 losses that ushered in a summer of upheaval. Coach Doc Rivers was fired and replaced by Nick Nurse. James Harden soon demanded a trade and never again played for the Sixers.
The Celtics didn’t stand pat after coming up a game short last season of making back-to-back trips to the NBA Finals. The Celtics acquired the 7-footer Porzingis and five-time all-defensive selection Jrue Holiday.
For a moment in Philly, the echoes of Game 6 seemed too familiar.
Jayson Tatum’s 3-pointer pulled the Celtics to 94-87 and flashed reminders of the decisive ones he made late in Game 6 — he buried one 3 for an 84-83 lead and a second that made it 87-83 — for the playoff win in Philly.
His shot on Wednesday started another Boston comeback. Tatum hit another bucket that pulled the Celtics within four with 61 seconds left, but Embiid answered with a fadeaway. Jaylen Brown hit a step-back 3 that made it 106-103.
Porzingis missed a 3 in the final seconds and the Celtics lost their second straight game.
Tatum finished with 16 points. Tobias Harris scored 17 for the Sixers.
Amid the recent roster changes, the one constant for the Sixers is Embiid. The reigning MVP scored 13 points in the third quarter. His quarter almost seemed quiet compared to the 29 points he scored on 10 of 10 shooting in the third on Monday against Washington.
Embiid nearly scored all the Sixers points in the quarter.
He buried a 3 from well beyond the top of the arc for a 72-68 lead that sent the crowd into a frenzy. Porzingis missed a dunk and Robert Covington — one of a handful role players acquired in the Harden deal — came right down and hit a 3. Embiid raised his arms, exhorting the crowd to get louder, as the 76ers closed the quarter up 81-71.
Both teams were an Eastern Conference-best 5-1 coming in, and the Sixers talked openly about using this game as an early-season measuring stick. They passed this one.
Reporting by The Associated Press.
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