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Celts erase 22-point hole, bury 76ers

Reuters

Boston’s Kyrie Irving drives to the basket against Philadelphia’s Dario Saric on Thursday in London.

The Associated PressLONDON (AP) — Ten seasons ago, the Boston Celtics came to London and won. They went on to win the NBA title.

As they repeated the first half of that feat with a comeback victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night, the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics provided more evidence that they can emulate that 2007-08 squad.

Kyrie Irving had 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds, and Boston overcame a 22-point deficit to beat the 76ers 114-103 in the eighth regular season NBA game played in England.

“It’s always great to believe in fate,” Irving said. “But for us, we have to be dogged in every moment we’re afforded. It’s great for that to happen for that past team, but it’s the past. We have to be very present. Winning an NBA championship is one of the hardest things you can do in life.”

Jaylen Brown added 21 points, and Marcus Morris had 19 points and eight rebounds to help the Celtics extend their winning streak to seven games.

JJ Redick had 22 points and hit five 3-pointers for Philadelphia, but the 76ers were unable to take advantage of their fast start as the Celtics’ NBA-best defense tightened at O2 Arena.

Joel Embiid had 16 points, and fellow All-Star hopeful Ben Simmons added 15 for the 76ers.

“This team that we just played today is the best defensive team in the NBA, and we felt all of that,” 76ers coach Brett Brown said. “When you look at their individual defensive players to a man, they’re as strong positionally as any team in the NBA.”

Irving and Embiid struggled early, going a combined 1 for 10 from the field in the first quarter. Despite ending the quarter pointless, Embiid was able to make an impact on defense, notably swatting away Irving’s attempted layup.

Embiid and Simmons helped out Redick at the start of the second, and the 76ers made their first nine shots of the quarter to open the 22-point lead with 6:56 remaining in the quarter.

However, Irving finally made a 3, sparking a strong Celtics finish to the half as they closed to 57-48.Speech

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