THE NITTY GRITTY
Evan Turner hit a tough driving floater over Jared Sullinger (after blowing past Jerryd Bayless) at the buzzer as the 76ers emerged despite missing five free throws late in the game. Turner finished with 16 points on 6-of-17 shooting with six rebounds, eight assists and two steals. He was a team-best plus-21 overall. Spencer Hawes scored 20 points to go along with eight rebounds, while rookie (and area native) Michael Carter-Williams had 10 points, seven assists and five rebounds for the 76ers. Jared Sullinger finished with team highs with 24 points and 17 rebounds, while Jeff Green started fast (and went quiet later) while putting up 18 points, six rebounds and four assists.
Despite trailing by as much as 14 late in the second quarter, Boston slowly climbed back into the game. Chris Johnson's 3-pointer to open the fourth quarter tied the game at 74, and Phil Pressey's running bank shot soon after gave the Celtics their first lead since the opening minutes. In the final minute of a tied game, Kris Humphries completed a third-chance tip-in (after misses by Green and Sullinger) to put Boston out front 94-92 with 42 seconds to go, but after Turner missed the back end of two freebies, he atoned with a contorted-body jumper in the lane after calling for the final shot.
BAYLESS STARTS SECOND HALF
With Boston likely looking for a scoring jolt -- and a little extra size to combat Carter-Williams at the point guard position -- the Celtics went with Bayless in the starting unit to open the second half. Bayless finished with 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting with four rebounds, three steals and an assist. But his defense on the final play made it too easy for Turner to get into the paint.
Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo sat out Wednesday's game as a precaution on the second night of back-to-back. With Avery Bradley making progress with a sprained right ankle, Boston could have its starting backcourt intact as early as Sunday's visit from the Magic. ... Brandon Bass scored 11 points, but was a team-worst minus-16, while Gerald Wallace mustered a point on one shot while starting at shooting guard and was minus-13. Pressey had one of his tougher games, going 1-for-7 shooting for 2 points with only two assists and five turnovers. ... The Celtics turned the ball over 18 times; the 76ers gave it away only 10 times.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (15-33) have now lost four straight and 16 of 18 overall. The loss flip-flops them with Philadelphia in the standings, giving Boston the third-worst record in basketball. The Celtics get a rare three-day break before hosting the Orlando Magic in a Super Bowl appetizer on Sunday afternoon. A rematch in Philadelphia looms a week from today before the Sacramento Kings visit next Friday night.