Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler had big games for the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, but Kyrie Irving was the Christmas Day star in a 121-114 Boston Celtics overtime win.
While Philadelphia’s duo shone throughout the game, it was Wilson Chandler who came up big to force overtime, scoring the final five 76ers points in regulation, including a 3-pointer with 37 seconds left to give Philadelphia a 108-106 lead.
Irving forces OT, shines in extra session
But Irving countered for the Celtics, beating Jimmy Butler on an isolation play, attacking from the wing to hit a fallaway jumper in the lane to tie the game at 108 and force the extra session.
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He came up even bigger in overtime, sinking huge 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to seize control of the extra session after the 76ers struck first first.
On the day, Irving tallied 40 points, 10 rebounds and three assists while shooting 17-of-33 from the field, including 5-of-10 3-pointers.
And it wasn’t just his point total that stood out. Irving’s shots arrived when Boston needed them most as the 76ers looked poised for the win late in regulation and early in the overtime session.
The 76ers scored the first five points in overtime, including a technical free throw from J.J. Redick after Marcus Smart lost his composure and shoved 76ers point guard Ben Simmons after a Butler bucket.
Redick’s free throw extended Philadelphia’s lead to 113-108 with 3:33 remaining as the game appeared to be slipping away from the Celtics.
Celtics rally after ceding control in OT
But Jayson Tatum countered with a dunk on the other end, and it was Irving’s show from that point on. The Celtics guard lobbed an alley-oop to Gordon Hayward on the next Boston possession to cut Philadelphia’s lead to 113-112
When Simmons hit 1-of-2 free throws to extend the 76ers lead to two, Irving responded with the back-to-back 3-pointers, a knockout blow that left the 76ers reeling.
Embiid had another massive outing for Philadelphia, tallying 34 points, 16 rebounds and two blocks. Butler added 24 points, five rebounds and four assists while Simmons tallied 11 points, 14 rebounds and eight assists. His struggles at the line proved costly as he hit 3-of-7 free throws.
Tatum and Marcus Morris both came up big for the Celtics, with each scoring 23 points as Tatum added 10 rebounds, two steals and two blocks.
But it was Irving — whose reputation as a shot maker on the big stage proved true — who made this Christmas Day a memorable one for the Celtics.
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