Joel Embiid said he must do more to carry his team after the Philadelphia 76ers lost 109-101 to the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of their first-round Eastern Conference playoff series.
NBA first-round playoff games live on Sky Sports
- Gm 1: Thunder @ Rockets | Tuesday 11:30pm | Sky Sports Arena
- Gm 2: Jazz @ Nuggets | Wednesday 9pm | Sky Sports Mix
- Gm 2: Trail Blazers @ Lakers | Friday 2am | Sky Sports Arena
- Gm 3: Clippers @ Mavericks | Saturday 2am | Sky Sports Arena
- Gm 3: Heat @ Pacers | Saturday 8:30pm | Sky Sports Arena
- Gm 4: Celtics @ 76ers | Sunday 6pm | Sky Sports Arena
- Gm 4: Lakers @ Trail Blazers | Tuesday 2am | Sky Sports Arena
Embiid had 26 points and 16 rebounds and Josh Richardson and Alec Burks each added 18 points for the 76ers but it wasn’t enough against a Celtics team powered by a combined 61 points from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Embiid took the loss hard. “I have got to do more,” he said. “Whatever the stats are, I have got to do more. I have got one job to do – carry us. I’m going to need my team-mates to help me.
“We know what we have got to fix – too many turnovers, starting with me. It’s all on me. I have got to take care of the ball. They had too many offensive rebounds, too many points off turnovers.”
The Celtics scored 21 points off Philadelphia’s 18 turnovers.
Tatum had career playoff-highs of 32 points and 13 rebounds while Brown scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter.
“Jaylen Brown in the last period was exceptional,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “It’s true that Jayson Tatum to start was excellent. You have to give them credit for how good they are at creating their own shot. I hope that we can do a better job of defending them in some of the schemes that we are trying to execute.”
Philadelphia nearly pulled off the win without All-Star guard Ben Simmons, who is out indefinitely after left knee surgery.
Tatum scored 15 points in the second quarter to give the Celtics a 55-49 lead at half-time.
“Offensively, it doesn’t feel like he has got 32 at the end of the night,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “He just plays the game within himself. He did a lot of good things tonight.”
Philadelphia led 85-81 heading into the fourth but the Celtics went on a 9-0 run that included seven points by Brown to take a 92-86 lead, and Boston pushed the lead to 10 before the 76ers made a final push. Philadelphia cut Boston’s lead to 103-100 on a three-pointer by Richardson with 59 seconds remaining, but the Celtics made 6-of-6 free throws in the final minute.
“Philly, they are not going to go away,” Tatum said. “They are a tough team. It’s the playoffs. You have got to come together as a team. You have got to play hard. You ain’t going to be perfect. That’s what we did. We came together and stuck it out.”
Celtics forward Gordon Hayward limped off the court with about three minutes remaining after his foot came down on team-mate Daniel Theis’ left foot.
Stevens said it was a sprained ankle: “Don’t know the severity. He’s clearly in pain. It looked like it had some swelling already. That’s my medical review.”
Game 2 takes place on Wednesday night, tipping off at 11:30pm (UK time).