Celts Rally to Keep Sixers Winless

BOSTON –(AP)  Isaiah Thomas scored 30 points, Jae Crowder hit a go-ahead 3-pointer and the Boston Celtics rallied to beat Philadelphia 84-80 on Wednesday night, handing the 76ers their 16th straight loss of the season — for the second consecutive season — and 26th in a row overall.

Philadelphia tied the major U.S. professional sports futility mark set by the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1976 to ’77 and matched by the 76ers in 2013-14. The Sixers are two losses away from tying the then-New Jersey Nets’ NBA-worst mark of 18 losses to open a season. Their 26 straight losses dating back to last season ties the NBA record for longest losing streak.

Evan Turner added 16 points for Boston, which trailed by five with just less than three minutes left. The 76ers scored three points in the final 6:13.

Jahlil Okafor led the 76ers with 19 points and nine rebounds. Hollis Thompson scored 15 points.

The 76ers opened an 11-point lead early in the final quarter and held that same advantage after Thompson’s basket in the lane with just more than six minutes to play. For the Sixers, its was their third straight game leading at the half and the second time in the past three games they led entering the fourth quarter. Boston then scored the next nine points, closing it to 77-75 on Jared Sullinger’s jumper from the left corner with 3:13 left.

After Okafor’s 3-point play gave the 76ers an 80-75 lead with just less than three minutes left, the Celtics scored the next seven points. Crowder’s 3 from the top of the key capped the spree.

Phil Pressey back-rimmed a jumper in the lane, and Thomas grabbed the rebound with 2.1 seconds left. He was fouled and hit both free throws to seal it.

Thomas’ driving basket closed it to 80-79 with 1:10 left.

There were many stretches in the third quarter where the crowd was eerily quiet — probably because they were surprised that the Celtics were trailing against a winless team.

They went from quiet to a spattering of boos after Thompson’s 3-pointer from the left wing made it 68-59 with 9:40 to play in the game.

The 76ers opened the second quarter with a 10-0 run over the first 5 minutes, turning a 26-26 deficit into an eight-point edge. Covington had seven points in the spree.

TIP-INS

76ers: F Nik Stauskas was out with a bruised left knee. … They blocked seven shots in the first quarter. … Coach Brett Brown agreed that the losing is very wearing. "It affects me. There’s no doubt about it,” he said. "I just try every day to hold that locker room together.”

Celtics: G Marcus Smart missed his third straight game with a lower left leg injury. … Coach Brad Stevens was still irked about a 24-point loss in Atlanta on Tuesday night. "I didn’t even mention last night’s game. I told them what we need to do on a consistent level and said, ‘That’s all I have to say,’" he said. "I just think we need to defend with greater urgency.”

UP NEXT

76ers: At Houston on Friday night.

Celtics: Host Washington on Friday night.