Celtics win fifth straight, send 76ers to 14th consecutive road loss with 108-89 victory
BOSTON (AP) -- Tyler Zeller scored a career-high 26 points, Avery Bradley had 20 and the Boston Celtics won their season-high fifth straight game, 108-89 over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday night.
Brandon Bass added 12 points and Marcus Smart 11 for Boston, which entered the day in a group of four teams separated by one game for the Eastern Conference's final two playoffs spots. Bradley also had 10 rebounds and six assists.
Nerlens Noel led Philadelphia with 18 points and seven boards, and reserve Ish Smith had 16 points in the 76ers' 14th straight road loss.
Boston swept the season series, 4-0, for the first time since 2008-09.
The Celtics were 4 of 5 on 3-pointers and shot 66.7 percent in the opening quarter en route to a 38-18 lead.
Boston, which never trailed, opened a double-digit edge (17-7) just 5 1/2 minutes into the game and its advantage never fell into single digits the rest of the night.
Bradley and Zeller each scored 10 points in the quarter. The Celtics pushed their lead to 20 on Luigi Datome's 3-pointer with just over a minute left.
In the second quarter, Boston used a quick 7-0 spurt to improve its lead to 51-24 on Bradley's third 3-pointer of the half. The closest the 76ers got the rest of the half was 23 points, twice, including a 57-34 deficit at intermission.
The 76ers, who entered as the league's lowest-scoring and worst-shooting team, came out for the second half and appeared to play harder, but the Celtics still coasted to the win.
Boston led 89-68 after three quarters.
76ers: Coach Brett Brown inserted Hollis Thompson into the starting lineup. "He's having a terrific year and he's shot the ball well," Brown said. "We'll start him tonight. He comes with a great attitude and somebody that's proven to be a tremendous teammate." ... Noel, who grew up in nearby Everett, Massachusetts, entered averaging 1.79 steals and 1.89 blocks. The only other rookie to average 1.50 or greater in both categories was Hall of Famer David Robinson since blocks became an official stat in 1973-74.
Celtics: G Isaiah Thomas missed his fourth straight with a bruised lower back. "He went to the doctor again, but it was still really sore," coach Brad Stevens said. "It's unlikely he travels on either of the trips, so I would say he's still three games away. He really wants to play. To say he's antsy is an understatement." ... Boston scored 100 or more points for the seventh straight time against Philadelphia. ... The Celtics wore their green jerseys with gold trim in honor of St. Patrick's Day.
76ers: Host Detroit on Wednesday.
Celtics: At Oklahoma City on Wednesday.