GRADES: Philadelphia 76ers 118, Boston Celtics 115

Jimmy Butler | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jimmy Butler | Philadelphia 76ers (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Boston Celtics 118-115 in their final matchup of the regular season. It was a tough contest and the teams traded blows throughout, but the Sixers ultimately prevailed with effective late-game execution.

It is about time. The Philadelphia 76ers finally conquered their Boston demons, at least for one night.

In a game with an intense playoff atmosphere, the Sixers were led by Jimmy Butler‘s clutch playmaking in the final minutes and an onslaught of Joel Embiid free throws.

The Celtics led by eleven points at halftime and were outscored by fourteen throughout the third and fourth quarters.

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Perhaps the highlight of this game occurred early in the third quarter. Embiid flared out his left arm and knocked down Marcus Smart as he was making a defensive cut. As he began walking away towards the perimeter, Smart shoved him from behind in retaliation.

Embiid immediately stood and charged in the direction of Smart where he was held back by Tobias Harris before any further altercation took place.

Joel was charged with a technical foul but Smart was automatically ejected with a flagrant 2.

From that moment on, the game was chippy and a legitimate feeling of a rivalry ensued, albeit one-sided until this game.

The Sixers bench was irrelevant, posting a grand total of eight points and hitting only three field goals. Luckily, Embiid shot 20-21 from the charity stripe on his way to 37 points along with 22 boards. The closer, Jimmy Butler, put the nail in the coffin by knocking down a two-point jumper with just under five seconds left in regulation.

It was just the Sixers’ third win over the Celtics in the last two years, playoffs included.

A. <strong>41 mins | 37 pts | 22 reb | 4 ast | 1 stl | 1 blk | 3 TO | 8-17 FG | 1-3 3PT| 20-21 FT | 4 PF | +12 | ]</strong><p>Embiid posted a video game stat line and was too much to handle in the paint. The Process knocked down a career high 20 free throws. He also made the key block on a <a href=. Center. Philadelphia 76ers. JOEL EMBIID

<strong>37 mins | 22 pts | 4 reb | 2 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 0 TO | 7-17 FG | 3-9 3PT| 5-5 FT | 2 PF | +11 | </strong><p>The king of the fourth quarter strikes again. Jimmy Buckets scored 15 points in the fourth including the 18-foot jumper to seal the deal. His closing ability remains one of the Sixers’ biggest strengths and has led them to another victory over a potential playoff opponent.</p>. Small forward. Philadelphia 76ers. JIMMY BUTLER. A

B-. <strong>42 mins | 13 pts | 8 reb | 7 ast | 3 stl | 2 blk | 2 TO | 5-9 FG | 0-0 3PT| 3-4 FT | 3 PF | +12 |</strong><p>Simmons did what Simmons does. With 13 points that were mostly quiet, he found his impact through passing, rebounding, and defense. His free throw shooting has been noticeably better in recent games. His free throw to put the Sixers up three points late was big.</p>. Point guard. Philadelphia 76ers. BEN SIMMONS

Power forward. Philadelphia 76ers. TOBIAS HARRIS. C+. <strong>37 mins | 21 pts | 8 reb | 3 ast | 0 stl | 0 blk | 1 TO | 7-17 FG | 2-5 3PT| 5-6 FT | 2 PF | +5 | </strong><p>Harris played well, but most of his damage came early. He scored 12 of his 22 in the first quarter and was held in check for the better part of the remaining three. There were several easy finishes that he missed. He was good, but it certainly was not his best game as a Sixer.</p>

C+. <strong>32 mins | 17 pts | 1 reb | 3 ast |  stl | 1 blk | 0 TO | 4-14 FG | 4-11 3PT| 5-5 FT | 2 PF | +/- 0 |</strong><p>Redick was effective at times throughout the game but he struggled to find his stroke for a bit. His highlight of the game was hitting 3-3 free throws as he was fouled on a three-point attempt to close out the first half.</p>. Shooting guard. Philadelphia 76ers. JJ REDICK

Despite winning a game that will serve as a big psychological boost, there is a caveat.

The Celtics played without Gordon Hayward who went for 26 points in their last meeting. Aron Baynes left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury, leaving the Celtics without a true rim protector. Marcus Smart was ejected in the third quarter. The Celtics were shorthanded in the second half which certainly played a role in the 14-point swing.

However, injuries happen and nobody forced Smart to shove Embiid from behind.

This lineup is now 7-1 when they all start.

Next. Ranking the Sixers' possible first-round opponents. dark

The Sixers will head to Atlanta on Saturday night to battle the Hawks.