This was one of those times where the NBA rule book needs to say ‘it’s cool so it counts’.
Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid just barely missed one of the all-time buzzer beaters, nailing a desperation heave from inside the opposition three-point arc that would’ve forced overtime in a 110-107 thriller against Boston.
The two East titans had already played out a thriller, with the Sixers leading by as much as 13 points in the third quarter, then trailing by 10 with six minutes left in the last before storming back.
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Sun, 26 Feb
Sunday February 26th
They hit the front with 1:58 remaining thanks to Tyrese Maxey before Al Horford’s fifth three of the night put the Celtics up 105-103, and a Jayson Tatum tip-in extended the lead to four with a minute to play.
James Harden and Embiid each then made two free throws to level the scores before a Tatum three left the Sixers with 1.3 seconds left for a miracle.
They almost got it, with the Sixers seemingly just randomly in-bounding the ball to Embiid before he heaved it more than three-quarters of the way down the court – and it found nothing but net.
However time had expired just as the ball was about to leave the superstar’s hands.
Embiid finished with 41 points and 12 rebounds with the Sixers left to rue the poor shooting of Harden (21 points on five of 16 from the field).
Tatum had 18 points, 13 rebounds and six assist for the Celtics while Jaylen Brown led the team with 26 points.
The win leaves Boston with the best record in the NBA at 44-17, two in the win column ahead of Milwaukee (42-17), with Philly in third (39-20).