Boston’s Jaylen Brown drives against Ben Simmons of the 76ers during Friday’s game in Philadelphia. Brown scored 42 points, but the 76ers won, 122-110. Chris Szagola/Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA — Joel Embiid had 38 points and 11 rebounds, Tobias Harris scored 23 points and the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Boston Celtics 122-110 on Friday night.

Seth Curry returned to the Sixers’ starting lineup following a seven-game absence because of a positive COVID-19 test and scored 15 points.

Jaylen Brown led the Celtics with 42 points and nine rebounds and Marcus Smart had 20 points.

Back at full health, the 76ers again played like a force in the East. Embiid followed a 42-point outing in a win over Boston on Wednesday with another fantastic effort. He made 14 of 15 from the free-throw line.

The Sixers’ defense had waned as COVID-related absences wrecked the lineup over the past 10 days. And after they turned the ball over late in the second quarter, Coach Doc Rivers pulled down his mask and yelled “wake up!”

The Celtics took a 52-49 lead into the halftime break, but the Sixers woke up in the second half.


Embiid scored 11 points in the third quarter – on the strength of 6 of 6 from the line – and the Sixers outscored the Celtics 42-28. The 42 points were the most for the Sixers in a third quarter in almost two years.

All-Star guard Ben Simmons converted a three-point play in the fourth quarter that snuffed a Boston run, then picked off a pass and dunked for a 108-100 lead. Harris followed with a 3-pointer, and the two-game sweep was soon complete.

Simmons had 15 points and 11 assists.


Celtics: Rookie guard Payton Pritchard suffered a sprained right knee in the first quarter and was helped off the court. … Celtics Coach Brad Stevens said Jayson Tatum is “closer than not” to returning to the lineup following a bout with COVID-19, but there is no definitive return date. … Guard Aaron Nesmith sat out because of back spasms suffered while running drills at Thursday’s practice.

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