BOSTON — Kyrie Irving said the shot was there all night.


He made two of them, when the Celtics needed them most, to lift Boston to a 121-114 Christmas Day victory against the Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden.


Irving dealt with some tough defense from Jimmy Butler throughout the second half, after striking for 23 points in the first half. But he was able to shake free for the overtime-forcing shot in the lane in the final minute of regulation before drilling back-to- [...]

BOSTON — Kyrie Irving said the shot was there all night.

He made two of them, when the Celtics needed them most, to lift Boston to a 121-114 Christmas Day victory against the Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden.

Irving dealt with some tough defense from Jimmy Butler throughout the second half, after striking for 23 points in the first half. But he was able to shake free for the overtime-forcing shot in the lane in the final minute of regulation before drilling back-to-back 3-pointers for a 118-114 lead with 1:28 left in OT.

“I was just trying to get a little bit of space,” Irving said. “I knew that shot was open for most of the night. I just couldn’t dial it in. (Joel) Embiid was so far back in the paint. Our bigs set great screens for me and I had to find it and make a few of those shots when I was coming off and had a great look at the rim.

“Whether or not the defensive player was next to me didn’t really matter. As long as I got my eyes on the rim and got my body squared, I thought it was a good shot.”

The five-time All-Star scored 40 points with 10 rebounds as the Celtics used a 13-1 run to end overtime, after trailing by five points with 3:33 left in the extra session.

“That was a lot of fun,” teammate Al Horford said. “I remember Kyle Kover, when we got Kyrie at first, one of the things he told me was he makes shots in big moments. He is the guy we would go to here. It’s just great Ky taking those big shots, and making the right play — just having the ball in his hands.”

Irving grabbed the offensive rebound of a miss after a Horford steal to push the clock under a minute in OT. Jayson Tatum got the line with 36.8 seconds to play for a six-point lead. The 76ers turned the ball over on their next possession and the Celtics ran out the clock on their first Christmas Day victory in Boston in franchise history.

Marcus Morris had 23 points and five rebounds, Tatum scored 23 points with 10 rebounds, and Terry Rozier had 10 points and five rebounds off the bench for Boston.

“Very intense,” Horford said. “They kept fighting. We would make a run, they would come back, and we could just never put them away. They took the lead. A lot of back and forth. These are the kind of games that challenge you mentally. We made sure that we stayed with it and we finished it.”

Down as many as seven points early in the fourth quarter, the Celtics took a 104-103 lead on a pair of Morris free throws with 1:51 to play. Wilson Chandler put the 76ers back up one from the line with 1:39 on the clock before Irving drove for the lead with 1:28 left.

A massive Tatum block on Chandler gave the Celtics a chance to extend the lead, but Irving missed at the rim and Chandler drilled a 3-pointer for a 108-106 game with 36.0 seconds to play.

Irving tied it with a shot in the lane over Butler with 20.9 seconds on the clock and Horford pulled down a rebound of a JJ Redick miss at the buzzer, forcing overtime.

“Jimmy was pressuring me so well,” Irving said. “I was trying to get to a spot and raise up over him. When I finally did, I got squared, and I faded and put a little bit more air on it. It hit the front of the rim and went in.”

A pair of Embiid free throws quickly put the 76ers up early in the overtime and Butler made it a two-possession game with 3:33 to play. A technical foul on Marcus Smart for pushing Ben Simmons sent Redick to the line for a 113-108 gap before Tatum got loose for a slam and a three-point game with 3:15 to play.

Gordon Hayward was able to finish a Tatum alley-oop feed and Horford pulled down a rebound with 2:27 on the clock. Hayward couldn’t finish a chance to give Boston the lead and Simmons hit one of two free throws with 2:14 to play.

Irving’s 3-pointer gave Boston a 115-114 lead with 2:00 to play in OT. Irving then drilled a second straight 3-pointer in transition for a four-point game with 1:28 left as part of the thrilling, game-ending run.