Sixers defeat Celtics, 89-86

Posted: March 12, 2011

With the end of the regular season about a month away, the 76ers hosted the Boston Celtics in a game that had a playoff feel. The sellout crowd of 20,614 certainly was engaged.

So were the Sixers.

With Elton Brand and Spencer Hawes leading five double-figure scorers with 14 points each, the Sixers defeated the Celtics, 89-86, on Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center.

Andre Iguodala added 13 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists for the Sixers, who are 34-31. The Celtics fell to 46-17.

"Wow, what a game," said Sixers coach Doug Collins, whose team begins a five-game road trip Saturday in Milwaukee.

In Wednesday's 110-105 overtime loss to the visiting Oklahoma City Thunder, the Sixers squandered a five-point lead with 37 seconds remaining in regulation.

After Kevin Garnett hit two free throws to get the Celtics to within 87-84 with 30.9 seconds remaining, Iguodala clinched the win, getting past Sasha Pavlovic and scoring on a driving layup with 12.8 seconds left.

Garnett, coming over from the weak side, was late in his attempt to block the shot.

"I'm trying to run the clock down and be able to make a play," Iguodala said. "They forced me right, KG stepped over, and I had enough space to get a scoop shot over him."

Celtics coach Doc Rivers said the reason Pavlovic was on Iguodala was because Paul Pierce had five fouls. It was a favorable matchup and result for Iguodala, who with a tie score Wednesday was charged with an offensive foul with 1.9 seconds left in regulation.

"We had a little bit better spacing. The last game, I had nowhere to drive all the way; I had to stop somewhere," Iguodala said. " Tonight I had a lane to go to and good spacing on the weak side, and it gave me a lane to drive."

Hawes gave the Sixers a particular lift, especially since he had scored in double figures just once in the previous eight games.

It was the third consecutive close game between these Atlantic Division teams; Boston won the first two by a total of five points.

"The first two times we played them, their experience took over at the end and they were able to out-execute us down the stretch," Hawes said. "This time, it went our way."

The Sixers committed only eight turnovers against a team that entered the game second in the NBA in scoring defense. Boston committed just 11 turnovers.

Celtics guard Ray Allen, the NBA's all-time leading three-point shooter, was held to five points, all in the fourth quarter. He shot 2 for 11 in the game.

The two players who hurt the Sixers were recent acquisitions from Oklahoma City: Nenad Krstic (16 points, 15 rebounds) and Jeff Green (18 points).

The Sixers received 12 points from Jodie Meeks, 11 from Thaddeus Young, and nine points and seven assists from Jrue Holiday.

They have not lost two games in a row at home since Nov. 5 against Cleveland and Nov. 17 against Toronto and are 22-11 at the Wells Fargo Center.

The players were inspired by the sellout crowd, even though there were more than a few Celtics rooters in the building.

"It was a lot of fun, the fans were supporting us, and they were loud," said Brand, who celebrated his 32d birthday on Friday. "There were a few Celtics fans, but they drowned them out and made sure they went home with a loss."


Contact staff writer Marc Narducci at 856-779-3225 or mnarducci@phillynews.com.

 


 

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