The Philadelphia 76ers landed a statement in Boston, controlling the Celtics on both ends of the floor in the fourth quarter, as they sealed an impressive 115-109 win.
The Sixers trailed 59-56 at the half but outscored the home team by nine points in the second half to move to 19-7 on the season, leapfrogging their division rival Celtics in the standings.
The night was pegged as Al Horford's return to Boston, but the popular veteran missed with injury, making the win just that little bit more impressive for Philadelphia.
Here are some of the takeaways from an entertaining game between two of the contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Joel Embiid is a force when he wants to be
All-Star big man, Joel Embiid spoke to reporters pregame about returning to his dominant ways and he followed through on that verbal warning.
I asked #Sixers' Joel Embiid about the criticism Charles Barkley and Shaq had about his performances. This is what he said: pic.twitter.com/aOk6q8X2ht- Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) December 12, 2019
Embiid rendered the Celtics defence useless in this one, as he relentlessly attacked Enes Kanter and Daniel Theis on the block. Embiid finished with 38 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in arguably his best performance of the season.
While he did connect of two of his three attempts from the outside, Embiid's output largely came in the form of dunks, lay-ups and a variety of other post moves, as he continuously took advantage of the favourable match up Boston present him.
With the game on the line, he then knocked down five free-throws in the final minute, before delivering an emphatic block on Theis with 14.8 seconds left that all but sealed the win.
EMBIID RECOVERS FOR THE DENIAL!@sixers 115@celtics 109- NBA (@NBA) December 13, 2019
10.1 to play on @NBAonTNT pic.twitter.com/rGEjNv7c7A
Embiid's scoring average has dropped from 27.5 points per game to 22.0 so far this season, though perhaps tonight was the night, the beast in Philadelphia awoke.
Philadelphia find the range
Easily the biggest question mark on this Philadelphia squad is their offensive fit.
Embiid and Simmons remain a work in progress as a duo, while the other pieces that have been placed around the two All-Stars are yet to find full cohesion.
On this night at least, spacing was not a concern.
☔️ @mikescott ☔️ pic.twitter.com/TaNuYcMML5- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 13, 2019
Led by Mike Scott, Philadelphia scorched the nets to finish 14-for-28 from beyond the arc (50 percent).
Scott, shooting just 34 percent from three on the season coming in, buried five of his seven attempts, while Josh Richardson (2-for-3) and Matisse Thybulle (2-for-4) played their part.
While 50 percent is hardly a number you can expect on a regular basis, if the role players in Philadelphia can become a consistent threat from deep, then the Sixers offence all of a sudden becomes much more threatening.
Boston's home streak snapped
The Celtics came into this one 10-0 at home in 2019-20.
With the loss, Philadelphia (13-0) and Miami (11-0) are now the only teams in the league still undefeated on their home floor.
Well this is just good basketball. pic.twitter.com/VTfgG8Lymz- Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) December 13, 2019
The length and size of the Philadelphia defence appeared to bother the Celtics leading scorers, with Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combining to shoot just 21-for-55 from the field.
With Simmons, Richardson and Thybulle, the Sixers match up defensively as well as anyone with Boston, and this is before you even mention Embiid or Al Horford who didn't even suit up.
The Sixers are a tough matchup for the Celtics, that much we know.