The Boston Celtics were looking for a way to shake off the Philadelphia 76ers Friday night, as they clung to a 73-72 lead midway through the third quarter of their preseason matchup at Wells Fargo Center. All it took was a 9-2 run over a 53-second span to give Boston the separation it needed for a win.
Philadelphia big man Amir Johnson helped his former Celtics squad get their run started at the 5:24 mark of the third quarter when he committed a shooting foul on Aron Baynes. The Australian center nailed both of his free throws, which tripled Boston’s advantage, but he wasn’t done there.
Seven seconds later, Baynes intercepted a bad pass by Ben Simmons, and was immediately fouled by the promising 76ers rookie. Baynes, who was 6-of-6 from the line on the night, swished both freebies to give Boston a five-point lead.
Simmons then missed a layup at the 4:56 mark, and Marcus Smart was there to corral the rebound and then feed rookie Jayson Tatum for a driving dunk four seconds later.
Simmons would respond with a dunk of his own, but Kyrie Irving one-upped him with a 3-pointer at the 4:31 mark, which gave Boston an 82-74 lead.
From that point forward, Philadelphia would never pull closer than five points. Boston built its lead up to as many as 14 points during the fourth quarter, and walked away with a 110-102 win to improve its preseason record to 2-0.