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Embiid, Simmons rally 76ers past Celtics

Joel Embiid has collected 37 points and a career-high 22 rebounds along with a late block on Kyrie Irving as the Philadelphia 76ers averted an NBA season sweep by beating the Boston Celtics 118-115.

Embiid also made a personal-best 20 free throws, while Jimmy Butler scored 15 of his 22 overall points in the fourth quarter alone.

Australian Ben Simmons took a backseat as Embiid ran the show but still earned 13 points and eight rebounds as the 76ers won six straight.

Al Horford scored 22 points and Terry Rozier added 20 points off the bench for Boston, which saw guard Marcus Smart receive a flagrant-2 foul and immediate ejection in the third quarter following a two-handed shove of Embiid.

Australian centre Aron Baynes injured his left ankle with five minutes remaining in the first half and did not return for the Celtics.

The teams were deadlocked at 113-113 with 1:17 left before Simmons’ driving lay-up and subsequent foul shot regained the lead for the 76ers. Irving’s floating jumper was duly blocked by Embiid with 30 seconds remaining, and Butler drained a jumper at the other end to seal the result.

Elsewhere, Collin Sexton scored 25 points to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 107-102 win over the short-handed Milwaukee Bucks.

Milwaukee dressed only nine players and were without Greek star Giannis Antetokounmpo, who continues to nurse an ankle injury.

Orlando Magic also led from start to finish in a 119-96 pounding of the New Orleans Pelicans, while Utah Jazz beat the New York Knicks 137-116.

Meanwhile, two matches went into overtime. Chicago Bulls ousted Washington Wizards 126-120 after the match finished 113-113, while Memphis Grizzlies upset Houston Rockets 126-125 after a 115-115 full-time result.

James Harden scored a colossal 57 points for the Rockets.

Miami Heat also defeated the San Antonio Spurs 110-105, with Australian Patty Mills nabbing 17 points and six assists for the Spurs.

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