Jayson Tatum hits game-winner in Celtics-Sixers, but only because Joel Embiid's heave was milliseconds late

One of the best games of the season was a millisecond or two from reaching immortality status, but the Boston Celtics will gladly take it.

The Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 110-107 on Saturday in a back-and-forth game that ended up tied with 5.9 seconds remaining. It was Boston ball and the team predictably opted to put the final shot in Jayson Tatum's hands.

Tatum hit a 3-pointer to put the Celtics up 3 with 1.3 seconds left. The Sixers had no timeouts left, so they soon inbounded the ball to Joel Embiid, who dribbled once then threw a three-quarter-court heave that somehow went in.

It would have been one of the wildest endings in NBA history ... had the officials not instantly waved off the basket because Embiid released the ball a fraction of a second after the buzzer sounded. Embiid didn't disagree with them, even as the Wells Fargo Center crowd went ballistic celebrating what it thought was an inconceivably tied game.

Thankfully, Mike Breen was on the call.

Even without the final shot, it was another huge game from Embiid, who had 41 points on 12-of-21 shooting with 12 rebounds, five assists and three blocks.

"I wish I would've shot it sooner, but as I turned, I saw [Celtics guard] Derrick White there, so I couldn't really get it off. So I had to go back to my right side ... story of my life," Embiid said after the game.

When asked if the shot going in made the loss more painful, Embiid said "I don't care, it didn't count."

Meanwhile, Tatum finished with 18 points on 7-of-17 shooting with 13 rebounds and six assists. Per ESPN Stats & Info, Tatum has hit nine game-tying or go-ahead field goals in the final five seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime in the last five seasons, the most in the NBA.

Boston Celtics' Jayson Tatum, right, and Derrick White celebrate after an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Jayson Tatum hit the game-winner in Celtics-Sixers. Then things got weird. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)