BOSTON — Guard Michael Carter-Williams, the odds-on favorite for NBA Rookie of the Year honors, took over in the fourth quarter and led the Philadelphia 76ers to their second win in their last 30 games on Friday night.
Carter-Williams scored seven straight points for his team and center Henry Sims scored a career-high 24 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lift the woeful Sixers to a 111-102 victory over the Boston Celtics.
Sims came in averaging 6.3 points and 4.7 rebounds per game.
The battle between two of the NBA’s worst went to the visitors, who have actually gone 2-2 in their last four games after losing 26 straight.
The Celtics, meanwhile, lost their seventh straight and 12th in their last 13.
Carter-Williams finished with 24 points, six rebounds and six assists in helping Philadelphia (17-59) overcome the 29th career triple-double by Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.
Rondo had 11 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds, but it was not enough as Boston fell to 23-53.
The Sixers also got 15 points apiece from forward Thaddeus Young and guard Elliot Williams.
Guard Jerryd Bayless led the Celtics with 23 points, forward Jeff Green scored 15, forward Brandon Bass had 12 points and 11 rebounds and forward Kelly Olynyk contributed 14 points.
The Celtics, down by eight points early in the second quarter, kept themselves in the game on the offensive glass — 13 offensive rebounds and 21 second-chance points in the first half. That helped overcome 36.4 percent shooting from the field.
But they were able to hit from long range, shooting a higher percentage — 38.9 percent — than from inside the arc in the half.
NOTES: Celtics G Avery Bradley was out again as his right foot woes continue. His strained Achilles will also sideline him on Saturday night at Detroit, the 21st and 22nd games he has missed this season. “The expectation is, he will be day to day starting Monday,” coach Brad Stevens said. “We’re hopeful that he plays Wednesday in Atlanta.” … The back-to-back situation will also keep Rondo out against the Pistons — he has not and will not play back-to-backs this season after returning from knee surgery. … Sixers C Nerlens Noel, who has yet to play in his rookie season after knee surgery, was rumored for a possible debut in his hometown on Friday but did not suit up. … The Sixers are at Brooklyn on Saturday night. … Despite their losing ways, it appears the Sixers will not “catch” the Milwaukee Bucks for the league’s worst record. They started play Friday night two games ahead of Milwaukee. The team with the worst record has a 25 percent of getting the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. The team that finishes next-to-last has a 19.9 percent chance.
Grizzlies 100, Nuggets 92
Marc Gasol scored 24 points as Memphis upended Denver for its 11th consecutive home victory.
Mike Conley scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half as the Grizzlies tentatively moved into a tie with the Dallas Mavericks for seventh place in the Western Conference. Zach Randolph added 20 points and 15 rebounds despite struggling with 7-of-22 shooting.
Randy Foye had 21 points and nine rebounds and Kenneth Faried added 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Nuggets. Ty Lawson added 16 points and Timofey Mozgov had 13.
Denver trailed by six after two free throws by Faried with 7:31 remaining before Conley started an 12-4 burst with a driving hoop and added a 3-pointer and a technical free throw as Memphis stretched its lead to 90-76 with 4:43 to play. The Nuggets crept within 96-92 on Foye’s 3-pointer with 52.5 seconds to play before Randolph scored the final four points to seal it.
Memphis led by 12 less than four minutes into the contest but Denver rallied to lead by as many as eight in the second quarter en route to a 47-43 halftime lead. The Grizzlies ran off 11 straight in the middle portion of third to take the lead and held a 69-65 advantage entering the final stanza.
Hawks 117, Cavaliers 98
Mike Scott scored 26 points on 12-of-13 shooting off the bench as Atlanta cruised past visiting Cleveland to stay in the playoff picture in the Eastern Conference.
Jeff Teague contributed 20 points and 12 assists and Lou Williams scored 16 points in a reserve role for the Hawks, who moved a half-game in front of the New York Knicks for the No. 8 spot in the East. Paul Millsap collected 16 points and 11 rebounds as Atlanta won for just the second time in the last nine games.
Dion Waiters scored 23 points for the Cavaliers, who slipped three games behind the Hawks for the No. 8 spot. Spencer Hawes recorded 16 points, 10 rebounds and six steals and Kyrie Irving had 13 points and six steals for Cleveland.
Millsap buried a 3-pointer on Atlanta’s first possession and the Hawks never trailed. Scott’s 3-pointer later in the first extended the lead out to 30-17 and his layup on the final possession of the period made it a 16-point gap after the opening quarter.
Scott scored the first five points of the second quarter as the lead reached 44-23, and Atlanta led by as much as 23 points before settling for a 61-49 lead at the break behind 18 points from Scott. Teague’s layup sent the Hawks into the fourth with a 17-point lead, and his 3-pointer with 1:20 to play made it a 114-95 gap as Atlanta put it away.
GAME NOTEBOOK: The Hawks shot 58.5 percent from the field and recorded assists on 35 of 48 made field goals. … Cavaliers C Anderson Varejao (shoulder) returned from a one-game absence and collected nine points and five rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench. … Scott totaled 16 points on 5-of-17 shooting over the previous four games.