Final: Celtics 113-110 In the end, they did it with defense.
With under a minute left in the game, Rajon Rondo stole the ball when Philadelphia had a chance to tie the game. On the next play, Paul Pierce made up for Ray Allen's missed layup by drawing a charge on Andre Iguodala moments later, never allowing the Sixers that game-tying score.
And it was Rondo's improbable fall-away jumper that gave the Celtics enough cushion to hold on. Rondo took the ball all the way through the paint before hoisting up a shot with 9.6 seconds left to put the Celtics up by four. The teams traded free throws down the stretch as the Celtics held on for the win.
The late defensive plays came on a night when the Celtics allowed Philadelphia to shoot 48 percent from the field and and 13 of 20 from beyond the arc. The Sixers also had 18 second chance points and 23 points on the fast break, stats that had to make Doc Rivers squirm.
The Celtics are still waiting on that game when they put a team away early and keep their foot down.
All five Celtics starters scored in double-figures, led by Paul Pierce with 27 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds. Iguodala led the Sixers with 25 points, 9 assists, and 9 rebounds. The Celtics return home Friday night against Toronto.
1:20 4th Qtr: Celtics 107-105 This one isn't over yet.
2:34 4th Qtr: Celtics 106-98 Jrue Holiday picks up his fifth foul, an issue considering the Sixers are also without Lou Williams. Look for Rajon Rondo to exploit that here down the stretch.
4:55 4th Qtr: Celtics 102-92 Celtics are milking clock. A missed three by 'Sheed leads to an offensive rebound and another possession. C's don't score, but not all bad.
7:03 4th Qtr: Celtics 98-90 The Celtics are on an 11-3 run, and it couldn't have come at a better time. They're driving for easy scores and making it hard for Philly to get open looks.
9:37 4th Qtr: Tied at 87 It's a 10-minute game now.
End 3rd Qtr: Sixers 85-79 The Celtics may actually lose this game. Philly is shooting almost 50 percent from the field, and the Sixers are 10 of 14 from beyond the arc. If the Celtics want to take this one, they need to play better defense. And stop taking threes (4 of 20).
3:03 3rd Qtr: Celtics 72-70 Samuel Dalembert was called for a technical foul, but the officials missed a blatant forearm swipe by Rasheed Wallace that struck Dalembert moments earlier. Wallace should have been the one called for the foul, and possibly ejected.
3:21 3rd Qtr: Tied at 68 Double-technicals on Kevin Garnett and Thaddeus Young.
6:42 3rd Qtr: Celtics 61-59 Kendrick Perkins (12 points, 8 rebounds) just picked up his fourth personal foul. Not good.
9:25 3rd Qtr: Celtics 57-56 Paul Pierce takes it to the hoop (thank goodness) and gets two freebies. Celtics lead.
Halftime: Sixers 52-51 Before the game Doc Rivers was asked if this was the night his team would get the message and put a team away in the first half. He said he hoped so.
Didn't happen. Philadelphia has much more life than when these teams met on Nov. 3. The Sixers are shooting 46 percent but are an efficient 5 of 8 from three. They also have an unacceptable (from Boston's perspective) 10 offensive rebounds. The Celtics, meanwhile, have Pierce, Garnett, and Perkins in double-figures, but their three-point shooting (4 of 14) has been abysmal.
2:36 2nd Qtr: Sixers 48-45 Paul Pierce just knocked down a three to give him 10 points, matching the 10 points scored by Kendrick Perkins. And if you bet that Jason Kapono and Andre Iguodala would also have 10 points apiece at this juncture, well, you win.
6:43 2nd Qtr: Sixers 36-33 Thank goodness for Kendrick Perkins. He's got 9 points and 8 rebounds and (get this) has made OVER 50 percent of his field goal attempts.
8:34 2nd Qtr: Sixers 34-30 The Celtics are up to 10 three-pointers attempted and down to 42-percent shooting.
END 1st Qtr: Celtics 27-23 Here we go again. This game is eerily similar to recent games in which the Celtics have put up decent numbers early but have failed to gain any type of separation. The C's will take 50 percent shooting, and they'd probably take 45 percent shooting from Philly to go along with six turnovers. So why is it only a four-point game? Boston has already chucked eight three-pointers, for one.
3:49 1st Qtr: Celtics 21-16 Nice turnaround jumper in the lane from Kendrick Perkins. He's got five points.
8:25 1st Qtr: Tied 9-9 Kevin Garnett misses an alley-oop, though there were two defenders in the area. Samuel Dalembert's dunk ties the game.
10:56 1st Qtr: Celtics 7-2 Ray Allen has five early points. He's also got the defensive assignment on Andre Iguodala.
Pregame You know what? This place might fill up. Also Scal just wished everyone a Happy Thanksgiving on the mic before the game. And he did a pretty darn good job.