After the 76ers defeated the Wizards Wednesday (Nov. 29) night, center Joel Embiid sat out the second game of a back-to-back on Thursday (Nov. 30) against Boston. With the Celtics atop the Eastern Conference, it’s a major bummer that the fans didn’t get to see these two teams match up at full strength. In the other game in the early NBA slate, the Cavs were riding a nine-game winning streak, but their defense versus the Hawks resorted to their early season performance.

Celtics (19-4) defeat 76ers (12-9) 108-97

The 76ers started Robert Covington against Kyrie Irving and then turned to Jared Bayless; it didn’t go well.

Irving got anywhere he wanted on the court, scoring 11 points as the Celtics raced out to an early 28-22 lead. Ben Simmons' all-around skills kept Philly in the game, but Irving dropped another nine points in the second to propel Boston to a 54-44 halftime lead.

The Sixers put up a good fight in the third quarter, climbing back into the game. Philly grabbed the lead on a Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot shot from deep, but the Celtics responded by going on an 11-4 run to take a five-point edge heading into the fourth. Simmons tried to keep the Sixers close.

However, the Celtics pushed their lead to double-digits in the final quarter. Irving finished with 36 points to lead Boston. Simmons had 15 points, six rebounds, seven assists, and five steals for Philly.

Cavaliers (15-7) vs Hawks (4-17) 121-114

The Cavs have gotten off to hot starts this week against the 76ers on Monday (Nov. 27) and the Heat on Tuesday (Nov. 28). Cleveland’s offensive train kept rolling versus the Hawks, scoring 42 points in the first quarter. But their defense completely fell apart, allowing Atlanta to score 35 of their own.

While the Hawks continued to get baskets at will against a hapless Cavs’ defense, Cleveland’s shooting turned cold. The Cavs scored just 21 points in the second quarter as Atlanta claimed a 67-63 halftime lead. Dennis Schroder led the Hawks with 17 points. LeBron James had 13 points on 5-5 shooting, along with this take-no-prisoners tomahawk dunk.

Cleveland stopped messing around in the third and got back to their winning ways. Behind a major boost by Kevin Love, the Cavs dominated the Hawks 36-23 to reclaim a nine-point lead.

Atlanta remained a puncher's distance from Cleveland and made their move late in the fourth quarter, cutting the deficit to one with 2:37 left. But James answered immediately with a three-pointer and Dwyane Wade knocked down a floater to ice the game for the Cavs' 10th straight win. Love had 25 points and 16 rebounds, while James added 24 points and 12 assists. Wade chipped in 19 off the bench.