NBA Preview: 76ers at Celtics

76ers at Celtics

The Philadelphia 76ers will try to stay hot against the only team they have lost to over the last three weeks when they visit the Boston Celtics on Thursday. The rivals met in London a week ago and the Celtics rallied for a 114-103 win, but both teams returned home and had very different results once they resumed action.

The Sixers won for the fifth time in six games with an intense 117-111 victory over Toronto on Monday while the Celtics’ first action since London resulted in an overtime loss to New Orleans at home Tuesday night, snapping a seven-game winning streak. “For some reason tonight, the whole game we were a little careless. It just carried over there at the end,” Boston forward Al Horford told reporters. “We thought we had it. It just got away from us.” Joel Embiid was held to 15 points in the loss to the Celtics before recording 34 points and 11 rebounds in the win over the Raptors, which saw Philadelphia lose most of a big lead before hanging on in an emotional affair. “We’ve been in this type of position a lot this year,” Embiid told reporters, “so we just had to stay calm and execute.”

TV: 7 p.m. ET, TNT, NBCS Boston

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ABOUT THE 76ERS (20-20): JJ Redick has been a big part of Philadelphia’s surge with five 20-point games since Christmas, but the sharpshooter is expected to miss two weeks or more with a leg injury. Veteran Jerryd Bayless picked up a pair of starts in Redick’s place when the latter was hurt last month and second-year pro Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot – who had 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the last visit to Boston – could see an increase in playing time. Point guard T.J. McConnell is averaging 15 points on 58.3 percent from the field and 6.5 assists over the last two games.

ABOUT THE CELTICS (34-11): Boston has made a living on late rallies this season after many slow starts, but it couldn’t pull off the trick after another double-digit deficit Tuesday. “We can’t come back every game,” guard Kyrie Irving told reporters after shooting 8-for-24 and missing on some opportunities late in regulation and in OT. “It’s as simple as that.” The Celtics attempted a season-high 50 3-pointers, with Irving’s 12 attempts leading the way and Horford’s 4-for-5 effort the best of the bunch.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Embiid is averaging 13 points on 30.3 percent shooting in two meetings with the Celtics.

2. After seven consecutive games with at least 13 points, Celtics G Terry Rozier has a total of 17 over his last three contests while shooting 7-for-25.

3. Boston has won seven straight over Philadelphia at home.

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