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Ben Simmons and Marcus Morris scuffle in London

Ben Simmons and Marcus Morris scuffle in London”

The combination of Brown and Tatum's youth, length, athleticism, basketball acumen and will to win is a factor that has been at the core of Boston's overpowering play.

As they repeated the first half of that feat with a comeback victory over the 76ers on Thursday, the East-leading Celtics provided more evidence that they can emulate that 2008 squad.

Boston joined the nba champion Golden State Warriors as the only teams to come back from 20-point deficits in more than one game this season.

Their famously stingy defence could not get close to the Sixers and especially shooting guard JJ Redick - who scored 18 first half points.

"If we end up meeting in the playoffs, I feel like we got a pretty good chance", Embiid said. "I was here when we only won 10 games in a season, which is awful", Embiid said. "Bring the Celtic pride over here to London".

It got testy in the fourth quarter, with Boston's Morris taking exception to a foul from Simmons to spark a brief melee, but the main battle of the night had already been settled in the Celtics' favour. The 76ers will try to keep up their strong play against quality teams with a home matchup against the Raptors on Monday, while the Celtics will host the Pelicans on Tuesday. The center endured similar difficulties this time around - he was six-of-17 for 15 points at the O2 Arena.

It was one-sided from there, with the favorites using a wide variety of weapons to build as much as a 19-point lead.

"There's no real panic but we had to play a lot better". He brought a phenomenal scoring boost to start the third quarter, and then everything seemed to fall in place from there. "It's a long season still ahead and we're a little bit past the halfway point - it's great for that to happen for that past team but it's the past and we have to be very present", said Irving, part of the Cleveland Cavaliers side that claimed the title in 2016. He was openly excited all week about playing in London and the 76ers came out hot, but ultimately blew a 22-point lead en route to a losing effort. Moreover, they have become dangerous two-way weapons that have been key to Boston becoming the top defensive team in the NBA.

But Brown scored 10 second-quarter points, Tatum pulled himself out of a slow start to add 11 in the third, and Kyrie Irving and Al Horford - though not at their best - both collected well-rounded stat lines: 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds for Irving, and 13 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Horford.

LeBron James and the struggling Cleveland Cavaliers absorbed their most lopsided loss of the season Thursday night when they were routed by the Toronto Raptors, 133-99. The 8.3-point gap between the Celtics and Timberwolves is the same as the difference between the Timberwolves and the 19th-ranked Utah Jazz.

The Celtics clearly started this game flat and out of rhythm.



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