Celtics fall to 76ers in thriller as Joel Embiid outduels Kyrie Irving

Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving goes up for a shot past Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid during the first half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday

Though Boston held the lead for much of the game, with Horford bullying the 76ers down low, Irving constantly penetrating the lane and Rozier lighting them up from behind the arc, the energy in Wells Fargo would shift in Philadelphia's favor after Celtics shooting guard Marcus Smart and Embiid got into altercation that would lead to Smart's ejection.

As the Sixers tried to inbound the ball, Smart was guarding JJ Redick, who ran off a screen from Embiid. Embiid was assessed a technical. Smart quickly got up after the play and shoved Embiid to the floor.

Though you don't want to see scraps like this, it's not all that surprising given the history between these two groups.

Ever since the two teams met at the playoffs past year, both have developed bad blood for one another. Philly understandably had plenty of motivation going into this game, and both sides brought playoff intensity.

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The Sixers' win and performance over the last six games will make it easy for fans to laugh off Rozier's latest trash talk, but he's certainly working hard to make his contribution to the Sixers-Celtics rivalry.

The Sixers bench was irrelevant, posting a grand total of eight points and hitting only three field goals. He also came up with a huge block on Kyrie Irving late in the game. He was a plus-20 at one point in the first half.

Butler erased a 105-99 Boston lead by nailing back-to-back threes to tie the game with 5:03 remaining. Butler had 15 of his 22 points in the final period. He's still the only player in the National Basketball Association I've seen that can defend both Embiid and Simmons. He recorded 22 points, six rebounds and five assists.

Smart's defensive abilities were sorely missed down the stretch, and Embiid went on to have a massive night, finishing with 37 points, and further solidifying the Sixers' claim to third place in the Eastern Conference standings.

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