BOSTON — BOSTON (AP) — When he didn't make the All-Star Game, Jaylen Brown decided he'll use the break to rest up for what he hopes will be a long postseason run.
“Ain't no reason to cry over spilled milk,” he said Saturday night after scoring 32 points in a 116-95 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers. “Playoffs is on my mind. That's the stage you want to be on. I think some people have got it backwards.”
Brown added nine rebounds, and Jayson Tatum — who was voted as a reserve in the All-Star Game in Chicago on Feb. 16 — scored nine of his 25 points in a 99-second span that gave Boston the lead for good. Playing without injured point guard Kemba Walker, the Celtics won for the sixth time in seven games and avoided a season sweep by the 76ers.
“I haven't played as well against Philly as I would have liked the first three times,” said Brown, who scored 20 points total in the three previous games against the 76ers this season. “So tonight I wanted to make sure I left my imprint on the game.”
In his fourth NBA season, Brown is averaging 20.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.4 assists — all career highs. But he was left off the list of East All-Stars when the reserves were announced on Thursday. Walker was selected as a starter, and Tatum will come off the bench.
“It's more important to be playing like an All-Star than to be named one,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “And nobody exemplifies that better.”
Ben Simmons scored 23 and ex-Celtic Al Horford had nine points and nine rebounds for the Sixers, who lost for the third time in five games. Joel Embiid scored 11, making just 1 of 11 shots and missing all four of the 3-pointers he attempted.
“He's not going to have that kind of night very often,” Stevens said. “He's an unreal player, and obviously we have the utmost respect for him. ... Probably more ‘one of those nights’ for him than anything we did.”
Philadelphia missed its first seven 3-point attempts and made just six of its first 24 shots overall. In all, the Sixers shot 36.9% from the field.
“They rolled out that athletic style, that physical style and Joel struggled tonight," 76ers coach Brett Brown said. "Combined with shooting 7 for 33 from the 3-point line, it's going to make for a long night offensively.”
It was 7-6 with 9 minutes left in the first quarter when the Celtics scored 10 straight points — including nine in a row by Tatum. After Tobias Harris made a short jumper to halt the run, Tatum answered with a dunk over Horford that electrified the crowd. Tatum then stole the ball from Harris and fed Marcus Smart for a 3-pointer that gave Boston a 22-8 lead, its biggest of the quarter.
The Sixers cut it to 59-51 at the half, but then came out cold and failed to make a basket in the first 5 1/2 minutes of the third quarter. The 12-1 Boston run made it 71-53 and Philadelphia never got closer than 13.
Sixers: Simmons and Embiid are the first Philadelphia teammates to make the All-Star Game in consecutive seasons since Charles Barkley and Maurice Cheeks in 1987 and ‘88. ... On Feb. 1, 1992, the 76ers beat Boston 126-110 behind Barkley’s 38 points and 11 rebounds. ... Philly fell 9-17 on the road. It is 22-2 at home.
Celtics: Fans began shouting for 7-foot-5 rookie Tacko Fall starting in the third quarter. He entered to a standing ovation with 2:32 to play and made one basket. ... Gordon Hayward was 1 for 11 from the floor for Boston, and Brown was 1 for 10 from 3-point range. ... Brad Wanamaker scored a season-high 15 points.
Walker missed the game with left knee soreness, joining center Enes Kanter (bruised hip) in absentia. But the Celtics had Tatum back on unrestricted minutes; he missed three games with a sore right groin and then returned on Thursday night to play 24 minutes against Golden State.
“Kemba is a short-term thing. We hope to get him back in the very near future. And Kanter is short-term," Stevens said. "We'll have time to be the best version of ourselves if we can get everyone back and healthy."
Sixers: At Miami on Monday.
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