NBA Basketball

76ers limp into meeting with Celtics

BOSTON -- It's no secret that injuries have seriously haunted the Philadelphia 76ers in recent years.

During a dramatic win Monday night -- Philadelphia's fifth in the last six games -- over the Toronto Raptors, the injury bug bit the Sixers again.

With the club still uncertain about when rookie Markelle Fultz's shoulder will allow him to return, J.J. Redick suffered what the club called "bone edema and small Cortical crack in the left fibula," that will be re-evaluate in 10-to-14 days.

Redick has been very good for the Sixers (20-20), averaging 17.3 points per game -- 5.1 higher than his career average. He is 40.5 percent on 3-pointers and 94.6 percent from the foul line after signing a one-year, $23 million free agent contract.

The Sixers, whose only loss in the last six games was against the Celtics in London last Thursday, will also be without bench piece Richaun Holmes for a second straight game when they visit Boston on Thursday night.

Holmes is out because of gastroenteritis. He is averaging 6.8 points and 4.8 rebounds in 16.4 minutes per game off the bench.

Joel Embiid scored 34 points and grabbed 11 rebounds Monday in a contest that included a scuffle between Philadelphia's Ben Simmons and Dwight Lowry.

"I don't play around," Simmons said. "I'm not going to take (crap) from anybody."

The Sixers blew a 22-point first-half lead to the Celtics in London. They blew a 22-point lead against the Raptors and lost on Toronto's previous visit and then hung on after squandering a 21-point lead Monday.

They turned the ball over seven times in the fourth quarter Monday.

"Look at some of the things we ended up doing at the end of the game. All we really had to do was dribble it out and instead we're playing volleyball," Sixers coach Brett Brown said. "That's the stuff that keeps me up really, really late at night."

The Celtics, playing only their second game in 11 days, lost to Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans at TD Garden on Tuesday night.

"We can't come back every game every game. It's as simple as that," Boston's Kyrie Irving said.

It may not be that simple. Irving revealed Wednesday he has a sore left shoulder and is questionable for Thursday. Add in sickness striking Marcus Smart, Guerschon Yabusele and Abdel Nader, and there is uncertainty on both sides in the latest renewal of this long-time rivalry.

"You've got to play the whole way through," Brad Stevens said of the loss that ended a seven-game winning streak and dropped the Celtics to 34-11. "And tonight, obviously, it's a 53-minute game. But I'll go back and watch but I'm guessing we didn't defend the way we wanted to for more than 10 or 12 minutes all night. So that was number one, and it kind of puts you in a tough spot.

"And then, we had a drought there late where we had some good looks that didn't go and we had some possessions that weren't as good."

The Celtics have won 13 of the last 14 games against the Sixers, winning the last seven at TD Garden.

Fultz, who was in line to go the Celtics with the top big of the last draft before Boston traded down and took Jayson Tatum, has been having all kinds of trouble shooting the basketball. He did, according to Brown, go 5-for-6 from the foul line in "pressure" spots Wednesday.

A few days earlier, the coach said, "I think what he needs to be is able to shoot a basketball. I don't know what percent we're going to apply that comment, but he needs to feel he can go and shoot a basketball. To just render it that the free throw is pretty good, and it is, and to only go that far without talking about some of the other pieces, is not what we are looking at, and I know he isn't looking at that."

Updated January 17, 2018

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