Sixers win on Embiid stunner as Celtics rally for NBA triumph

Washington (AFP): Joel Embiid hit a stunning 3-pointer with 0.8 of a second remaining to give the Philadelphia 76ers a shock 104-101 overtime NBA playoff victory over Toronto on Wednesday.
NBA scoring champion Embiid, a 28-year-old center from Cameroon, took an inbound pass near the sideline with less than a second on the shot clock, turned to the hoop and fired, sinking his first career last-second game winner after 14 prior misses.
“That’s the best one,” Embiid said of his last-second shots. “Just get the ball to me or whoever was open. We did that and I’m glad I made a good play.”
Embiid, a 2022 NBA Most Valuable Player award finalist, scored a game-high 33 points and grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds as the visiting Sixers rallied from a 17-point deficit to seize a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven series, which they can sweep in game four on Saturday.
“The job is not done,” Embiid said. “We’ve got one more. We’ve got to come back here and try to beat them again.”
Philadelphia trailed by as many as 17 points and never led until overtime, taking their largest lead on Embiid’s decider. The Sixers weren’t the only team to overcome a 17-point hole and win as the Boston Celtics took a 114-107 fightback victory over visiting Brooklyn thanks to a fourth-quarter comeback, the Celtics seizing a 2-0 series edge over the Nets.
Philadelphia’s James Harden had 19 points and 10 assists before fouling out in the final seconds of regulation time. Tyrese Maxey added 19 points and Tobias Harris had 11 points and 12 rebounds for the 76ers.
It was a heartbreaker for the Raptors, who were led by 26 points from O.G. Anunoby and 24 from Gary Trent Jr. with Precious Achiuwa adding 20 off the bench. The 76ers matched a season high with 21 turnovers, 15 of them in the first half setting up 21 Toronto points.
“We have to take care of the ball, don’t allow last second chances, move the ball to each other and make plays,” said Embiid, who was ripped at halftime by Sixers coach Doc Rivers with Toronto ahead 56-46.
“The first half I was just floating around. I didn’t really want the ball,” Embiid said. “Coach got on me, said I’m the biggest guy out there and I have to dominate. That’s what I tried to do (after halftime).”
Toronto couldn’t hold off the Sixers down the stretch as the teams traded basket for basket. A goaltending call against Anunoby on Harden was upheld on video review, a crucial call to pull the 76ers within 95-94 with 76 seconds remaining.
Harden and Anunoby each missed a late free throw and the game went into overtime. Embiid hit a jumper for a 101-100 Sixers lead but fouled Anunoby on a drive to the hoop and the Raptor made 1-of-2 to level the game, setting up Embiid’s last shot.