The Celtics came back after an extended period of terrible shooting but could not finish the deal in an 82-81 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 2.
Down three points with 10 seconds to play, Kevin Garnett was called for an illegal screen trying to free Paul Pierce up for a potential game-tying shot. The turnover gave the ball back to Philadelphia, who closed the game by making their free throws.
This was not the Garnett of Game 1 of this series or of Game 6 vs. Atlanta. Garnett had 15 points and 12 rebounds Monday night, but he was a participant in the Celtics' shooting woes as a whole. The Celtics shot 42 percent for the game. They shot 25 percent in the third quarter. In one stretch from the end of the first quarter to the end of the third quarter, the Celtics were 9 of 37 from the floor.
Garnett finished as Boston's leading scorer, while Jrue Holiday had 18 points for the Sixers.
The Celtics made their first four shots from the field to take a 9-0 lead after the jump. But points would not come as easily during the rest of the first half. After making his first two shots, Brandon Bass missed nine of his final 10 shots of the first half. The Celtics shot 25 percent in second quarter but still led, 38-36, at the break.
The Celtics don't have much time to hang their heads. Game 3 is Wednesday night in Philadelphia.
Final: Sixers 82, Celtics 81
10 seconds 4th quarter, Sixers 78-75: KG gets called for a moving screen trying to free up Pierce. Wow.
14.4 seconds 4th quarter, Sixers 76-75: Allen misses a tough fadeaway. The Celtics had a foul to give and waited to give it.
40.4 seconds 4th quarter, Sixers 76-75: Clutch 3-pointers by Bradley, Allen, and Holiday. Evan Turner puts the Sixers back up by one. Celtics ball.
3:15 4th quarter, Tied at 69: Garnett brings the house down with an alley-oop. He's spewing words unfit for human ears.
4:10 4th quarter, Tied at 65: Garnett waits for two defenders to run by and then takes advantage of the mismatch down low. Great runs by Rondo and Bradley, great patience by KG.
7:23 4th quarter, Sixers 63-61: Pierce comes back in for Pietrus. Doc Rivers going away from the hot hand to stick with his proven horses. We'll see if it works. Pierce has looked very limited.
9:06 4th quarter, Sixers 61-59: Lots just happened. Avery Bradley is back in the game with that injured left shoulder. Kevin Garnett hit just his third shot of the game and implored his teammates to get on his back, and they seem to be listening. Mickael Pietrus hit a 3-pointer on a broken play, then came down and hit another. The Celtics are in this game despite how poorly they've played.
End 3d quarter, Sixers 57-49: The Celtics typically own the third quarter, but they were owned there by Philadelphia. The Celtics managed just 11 points in the third on 4-of-17 shooting. Since the first quarter, the Celtics are 9 of 37 from the floor.
Kevin Garnett still has just four points.
2:37 3d quarter, Sixers 51-47: The Sixers are turning up the ball pressure and wreaking havoc on the Celtics. The Celtics are 4 of 14 to start the second and have seven turnovers since halftime.
6:27 3d quarter, Celtics 43-40: There's a reason they started this game at 7 p.m. Both teams will be lucky to get to 80 points tonight.
11:34 3d quarter, Celtics 40-36: Avery Bradley sits to start the second half. It's the same shoulder injury he's been dealing with. The Celtics are hoping he can come back in the fourth quarter.
Rondo drives in for the layup but lands hard on his tailbone. Gets up and shakes it off.
Halftime, Celtics 38-36: Paul Pierce seems to make about one big shot a game now. His latest puts the Celtics up at the break. He has five points.
Brandon Bass leads the Celtics with eight points, but he is just 3 for 11, continuing his poor shooting this series. Kevin Garnett has four points. The Celtics need one of their main players to step up in the second half.
On the plus side, the Celtics are holding Philadelphia to 37-percent shooting.
4:31 2d quarter. Celtics 33-29: Avery Bradley is headed back to the locker room. Looks like he tweaked that left shoulder.
6:08 2d quarter, Celtics 33-29: Rondo fires up the crowd with an alley-oop to Ryan Hollins. You could see the play developing from Rondo's perspective, but it still took a special play by Hollins to convert.
8:37 2d quarter, Tied at 27: Mickael Pietrus has no filter of late. He's taking bad shots and missing them. They're great when they go in, but they're not falling right now. He needs to be more selective.
End 1st quarter, Celtics 25-21: Why is the play at the end of every first quarter a 3-pointer by Rondo? For a guy so good at passing (6 assists in the first), Rondo seems hell bent at taking a bad three to end the first every game.
The Celtics survived that stretch without Garnett and still have the lead. That's a good thing.
2:50 1st quarter, Celtics 19-15: Garnett came out after six minutes, replaced by Greg Stiemsma. Maybe Doc wants KG to be fresh enough to play the entire second half.
5:08 1st quarter, Celtics 15-13: A quick hook for Evan Turner after that poor start. Instant offense Lou Wiliams into the game for Philly. Jrue Holiday has stepped up with eight points as the Celtics have cooled to 7 of 14.
9:44 1st quarter, Celtics 9-0: Well that's certainly a better start. The Celtics are 4 of 4 from the field, including two shots from Brandon Bass, who's been struggling.
Pregame: Doug Collins wants to let Kevin Garnett shoot jumpers rather than let KG get going in the paint. Doc Rivers likes Rajon Rondo "on random."
Celtics look for a 2-0 lead.
Let's get it.