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Final: 76ers 89, Celtics 86

Posted by Julian Benbow, Globe Staff  March 11, 2011 06:52 PM

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Final, Sixers 89, Celtics 86: Andre Iguodala sealed it with a tough drive past Sasha Pavlovic and into Kevin Garnett for a lay-up. The Celtics shot 6 of 20 in the fourth quarter and didn't score from Paul Pierce's free throw with 4:01 left to Kevin Garnett's free throw with 30 seconds left.

Fourth quarter, Celtics 76-75, 8:14: For the first time since they were up 8-6 in the first quarter, the Celtics are ahead. Ray Allen's on the floor with Carlos Arroyo, Nenad Krstic, Jeff Green and Sasha Pavlovic. The Sixers are coming off a tough loss to Oklahoma City, with Kevin Durant dealnig the dagger. Now, after going up 10 at one point in the third quarter, they're in another fight with one of the league's elite teams.

Third quarter, Sixers 66-64, 3:18: They should keep a stat for shots that lead an opposing coach to call a timeout. Rajon Rondo just hit one, an 18-footer from the right elbow. He's his three mid-range jumpers tonight, and his 12 points have been huge tonight.

Third quarter, Sixers, 61-51: Kevin Garnett hesitated so hard before taking another baseline jumper his leg sort of stuttered. He missed it short. He's 3 of 8 on the night.

Third quarter, Sixers 58-49: Jrue Holiday just ran straight by Nenad Krstic and kissed a floater off the glass high over Kevin Garnett's outstretched arm. The Sixers started the half 4 of 6 from the floor. Doc Rivers called a time out t stop a 9-4 burst, and immediately went over to Krstic.

Halftime, Sixers 49, Celtics 45: The Sixers are serious about stunning the Celtics. They've fired away from the 3-point line (4 of 7) and they've gotten a ton out of Spencer Hawes (11) while the Celitcs got off to another slow start missing 12 of their 20 shots in the first quarter, turning the ball over four times.

Second quarter: Sixers 46-43:The two teams traded punches for a spell. Paul Pierce threw down yet another dunk (that's 28 this season if you're counting), Andre Iguodala answered with a 3. Nenad Krstic drilled a 19-footer. Jodie Meeks knocked down another 3. Finally, Ray Allen took a touch pass from Paul Pierce, wrapped it around his back for Krstic for a dunk.

Second quarter, Sixers 41-36, 3:13: Kevin Garnett just missed two baseline jumpers that he'd normally knock down in a coma. He's 1 for 5 tonight after going 5 of 19 against the Clippers. Meanwhile, Spencer Hawes (11 points on 5 of 7 shooting) is at three-alarms and counting.

Second quarter, Sixers 35-28, 7:44: This is actually a fairly nice test for the reserves. The Sixers lead the league in bench scoring (40.3) with Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams, arguable two of their best players coming off the bench.

Second quater, Sixers 29-24, 10:34: The second unit inherits another deficit, but they're working with it. Carlos Arroyo came right in and found a good midrange shot for Jeff Green. He was in the locker room breaking down game tape on his MacBook before the game.

First quarter, Sixers 25-19, 30.4: Another rhythmless start for the Celtics. The Sixers have turned the Celtics' four turnovers into 7 points. They're shooting 48 percent. But Spencer Hawes has been lighting it up, knocking down 4 of his first 6 shots.

First quarter, Sixers 14-10 5:33:Nip-tuck early. The Sixers are out and running, Elton Brand and Spencer Hawes both have dunks earlier and Andre Iguodala's getting it however he wants it, including a 3 from in front of his own bench to give his team a 4-point lead

Pregame: The Celtics have won seven straight games at what's now the Wells Fargo Center. The last time they were here, Kevin Garnett sealed it by finishing off a lob with 1.4 seconds left.

Tonight, the Celtics know they're facing a much different Sixers team and there's a chance they could see each other in the postseason.

"They’re a team," Doc Rivers said. "You see that. You see group of guys who have completely bought into their coach. They’re different, same group, they’re just a different team. Iguodala is the biggest change, earlier in the year you saw it, but his numbers didn’t say it. We made the comment, ‘Man, he’s bought in.’ It’s going to work. And now you’re seeing it. It’s really neat to see. I love it. Especially young guy that’s had a lot of success, that’s already been paid, been a star in some ways. He changes his game for the better of the team and now he realizes it’s better for him now. Tough sale, tough to do, he did it. BUt all of them, they’re a close-knit, they touch each other now instead of walking away from each other."

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