Celtics smash 76ers, level NBA playoff series at 1-1
Jaylen Brown has scored 25 points and Boston rolled past Philadelphia 121-87, spoiling the return of reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid.
The Celtics tied the series at one game apiece as the Eastern Conference semi-finals series shifts to Philadelphia for Game 3 on Friday.
Malcolm Brogdon added 23 points, connecting on six of Boston's 20 three-pointers. Derrick White and Marcus Smart added 15 points apiece, while Jayson Tatum played most of the game in foul trouble and was held to seven points.
Boston ratcheted up their defence and limited a 76ers team that hit 17 triples in their Game 1 win to just 6 of 30 from beyond the arc on Wednesday night. The Celtics led by as many as 36 points at TD Garden in the fourth quarter.
Tobias Harris led the 76ers with 16 points. Embiid finished with 15 points, three rebounds and five blocks in his first game back from a sprained right knee that caused him to miss the final game of the Sixers' first-round sweep of Brooklyn. He also sat out Philadelphia's Game 1 win on Monday.
Embiid's return came a day after being voted the league's MVP for the first time.
He was cleared to play by doctors and training staff following a pre-game, on-court workout after some light work during the morning shootaround.
Embiid blocked an early shot by Smart, one of five in his first 13 minutes of action.
But his conditioning was noticeably lacking as he lumbered into sets at times, playing just shy of seven minutes in the first quarter before getting his first rest.
Embiid knocked down his first field goal of the night, a jumper over Grant Williams, with 21.4 seconds left in the term. He finished the first half with 13 points, going 7 of 8 from the free throw line.
Tatum picked up three fouls in the first half and was forced to play less aggressively, and it helped Philadelphia cut what had been an 18-point Boston lead to 73-60 with just over four minutes to play in the third quarter.
But his Celtics teammates picked up the slack, going on a 19-5 run to get it back up to 92-65 entering the fourth.