PHILADELPHIA — Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, and Paul Pierce combined for 74 points as the Celtics got out in front of the Sixers in the second quarter and ran away from them in the third, posting a 107-91 win in Game 3 at Wells Fargo Center. The Celtics now lead the best-of-seven series, 2-1.
The Celtics were down five after the first quarter but rode Garnett in the second. Garnett scored made 6 of 8 shots for 13 points in the second. Rondo had four assists in the period as the Celtics doubled-up Philadelphia, 32-16 in the quarter. The Celtics reached 60 points at halftime, a mark they did not reach until 8:36 remaining in 4th quarter in Game 2
Up by 11 points at halftime, the Celtics put on an offensive blitz in the third, putting up 29 more points to Philadelphia’s 17 to lead by 23 points after three. The statement was made. The fourth quarter was nothing more than a formality.
The Celtics benefited from an aggressive philosophy, particularly from Rondo, who found lanes to drive, score, and set up his teammates. Rondo finished with 14 assists and one turnover. The Celtics also got a break for Ray Allen, playing the shooting guard just 12 minutes in the blowout.
Both teams now have one day to prepare for Game 4 here Friday night.
2:51 4th quarter, Celtics 105-86: Pierce has 24 points and 12 rebounds. Want another bonus? Ray Allen only played 12 minutes in this game.
6:10 4th quarter, Celtics 101-76: Kevin Garnett is still ballin, insane reverse alley-oop. The starters are coming out now. They’ve done their job.
End 3d quarter, Celtics 89-66: Boos raining down on the home team. The Celtics outscore the Sixers, 29-17, in the third quarter. That’s exactly the response an experienced team makes against a young team when there’s something on the line.
4:58, Celtics 80-56: Rondo drives to the hole and lays it in. He’s got 23 points. The Celtics have hit seven straight shots from the field.
7:55 3d quarter, Celtics 71-51: The Celtics have been the best third-quarter team in the NBA all season, and this is why. Rondo is taking it to the basket with no resistance. The Sixers just aren’t playing the same level of defense we’ve seen. Boston by 20.
Halftime: Celtics, 60-49: Rondo and Garnett have 17 points apiece as the Celtics have put on an offensive display. The Celtics have 60 points at halftime in Game 2; they didn’t score their 60th point until 8:36 remaining in 4th quarter.
Garnett was a force in the second quarter, scoring 13 points. When Garnett isn’t scoring, the Celtics are taking the ball to the basket. Good signs all around.
5:26 2d quarter, Celtics 44-39: Celtics are getting contributions across the lineup. Brandon Bass has chipped in six points, Mickael Pietrus hit a 3-pointer, and Ray Allen is heading to the line.
8:51 2d quarter, Sixers 37-34: KG is getting great post position. That’s 10 points now for him. Doug Collins must be talking in the huddle about not letting Garnett catch it so low.
Eagles QB Michael Vick in the house, loud ovation.
End 1st quarter, Sixers 33-28: Lou Williams hits a 3-pointer as time expires to put Philly up five. The Sixers come out hot, shooting 62 percent. The Celtics are at 46 percent.
Ayla Brown, sitting in front of press row, gave three fist pumps on that Williams 3-pointer.
1:32 1st quarter, Sixers 26-24: Pierce blows by Iguodala, takes it to the rack, and dunks on Lavoy Allen. Gets the and-one. Slaps the backboard in a release of emotion. Can’t say anyone saw that coming.
4:03 1st quarter, Sixers 19-14: Andre Iguodala hits a 3-pointer. Paul Pierce is 0 for 6 from the floor. I even think Iguodala is taking it easy on Pierce taking so many jumpers. He should be working him on defense.
6:43 1st quarter, Celtics 12-10: Paul Pierce free throws are a good thing.
9:15 1st quarter, Sixers 5-2: Andre Iguodala clearly steps out of bounds but manages to go coast-to-coast on a steal to convert. KG gets a bucket down low early. No shoulder sleeve for Avery Bradley.
Pregame: Ready to go here at the Wells Fargo Center. We’ll be watching Paul Pierce and Avery Bradley closely, as well as monitoring Kevin Garnett’s touches.
Ayla Brown, Celtics anthem good luck charm from previous playoff runs, sings it for the other team. Apparently she’s had a contract to do the Sixers anthems all season. Had no idea.
Let’s get it.