Pierce helps Celtics top slumping 76ers 109-101
By DAN GELSTON
PHILADELPHIA (AP) So much for Boston's grim outlook once Rajon Rondo was lost for the season.
Avery Bradley has followed the trusted blueprint of dogged defense and impact scoring to help push the Celtics up the standings.
Bradley scored a season-high 22 points, and Paul Pierce had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Boston Celtics to a 109-101 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
Kevin Garnett scored 18 points to help the Celtics improve to 12-4 since Rondo was lost with a torn knee ligament. The Celtics entered in seventh place, but were no more than two games behind the next three teams ahead in the standings. Bradley was 10 of 15 and chipped in seven rebounds and five assists, the kind of numbers needed for the Celtics to slip into a coveted top-four spot for the playoffs.
"My teammates have confidence in me and I have confidence in myself," Bradley said. "When I have an open shot, I have to take it. That's how we play on this team. It helps us when I do that."
Led by Pierce, the Celtics controlled the game and used a 9-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to seal the win. Last May, these two teams went to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. On Wednesday, the Sixers lost for the ninth time in 10 games and are well out of the playoff race.
"We kept competing, trying to bring effort," Turner said. "But it's rough. They hit 3s and made some tough shots."
The Sixers beat the Celtics twice this season after stretching the Celtics to seven games in last year's playoff series. But the Sixers are a team in free-fall because of injuries and a roster ill-equipped to handle the losses of postseason standouts Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams.
There was some mild concern late in the fourth period when Holiday, their All-Star point guard, was hurt. Holiday grabbed his right ankle and hobbled back on defense after an awkward drive. He hopped on one foot after a steal attempt went nowhere, but did stay in the game.
Nothing much went right for the Sixers.
"We just missed too many easy shots," said Royal Ivey, who scored 10 points.
Like so many teams over the last 15 years, the Sixers had no real answer for Pierce. He hit his first four 3-point attempts, each one more crushing than the last. When the Sixers went on a mini-run to close within eight, Pierce and Jason Terry connected on consecutive 3s to build a comfortable lead.
Pierce had averaged 21.8 points over 54 career games against the 76ers.
At one point in the first half, both teams were 15 of 32 from the field. The Celtics found other ways to separate themselves from the Sixers: Boston went to the free-throw line and made 3s. The Sixers missed 9 of 11 3-point attempts in the first half and were 0 for 3 from the free-throw line.
The Sixers finished 5 of 21 on 3s and 14 of 18 on foul shots They did score 64 points in the paint.
But they only made 41 of a whopping 100 shots from the floor. The Celtics shot a solid 5 percent in the third (11 of 20) and 53 percent (10 of 19) in the fourth to methodically build to a 15-point lead.
"It was who could score the most. That's not the way we want to play the game," Garnett said.
Boston got sloppy at the end of the third quarter and had three turnovers in the final 90 seconds. That helped the Sixers score six straight points and slice the lead to five. Jordan Crawford opened the fourth period with a pair of 3-pointers that made it 91-76 and the Celtics never let up from there.
Crawford's points and production off the bench were needed for a veteran team with another game Wednesday night at Indiana. He scored 12 points and fellow reserve Jeff Green added 16. Pierce's perfection helped the Celtics go 11 of 19 from 3-point range.
"That's the new us in a lot of ways, the ball finds the open guy," coach Doc Rivers said. "It's simple, but it's hard to do unless you buy in. Everyone has bought in."
NOTES: Injured 76ers C Andrew Bynum (knees) was re-examined in New York on Tuesday by Dr. David Altchek. GM Tony DiLeo said surgery remained an option. ... Sixers G Nick Young (sprained left ankle) did not play. ... The 76ers will play two preseason games in Europe. They'll play Uxue Bilbao on Oct. 6 in Bilbao, Spain, and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Oct. 8 in Manchester, England.
Updated March 5, 2013
In the latest edition of the "It Is What It Is" podcast, Chris Price and CSNNE's Mike Giardi take a look at the Patriots offseason on both sides of the ball, try and get a handle on which new guys will make an impact first, and whether or not the Patriots have altered their style when it comes to drafting and developing wide receivers.
Mike Florio joined the program to discuss the Jets decision to release Tim Tebow, he said the situation is as disaster all around for the Jets and that the problems begins with owner Woody Johnson. Mike also said that he was disappointed with the Pats moving back in the first round.
One of the hardest working men in the biz, Mike Petraglia aka "Trags", sits down with Butch Stearns live in Foxborough to help break down all the latest Pats moves. He discusses his reaction to the trade in Round 1 and the guys those picks produced. Also, the boys talk about the decent trade the Pats made in acquiring LeGarrette Blount from Tampa Bay for Jeff Demps and a 7th rounder.
We check in with Danny Ainge for our first talk to him since the Celtics season ended last weekend. We talk about the future of the team, KG, Pierce, Doc Rivers and more, as Danny directly answers the rumors being floated by ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.
Jackie Mac joins the show to discuss the trade rumors swirling around Paul Pierce, KG, Doc Rivers and the Celtics. She also discusses the future of the Celtics head coach.
Stephen A. joined the program to discuss the trade rumors he has reported regarding a possible trade including Doc Rivers and the Clippers. Stephen A. also told the guys that he has heard that Danny and Doc may be tiring of working together.
John Farrell postgame press conference
Joe Castiglione and Dave O'Brien talked to David Ortiz after the Red Sox beat the Twins 12-5. Big Papi said that team chemistry is great, that the new guys see the Sox way of doing things.
Joe Castiglione talked to John Farrell before the second game against the Twins. The manager said that the Sox can win with small-ball or with big-ball.
Bruins rookie defenseman Matt Bartkowski has emerged as one of the young stars of the team and he joins Mut and Tom Caron to discuss his role on the team, why he's confident, and the trade that almost sent him to Calgary.
Andy Brickley joins the show to discuss the Bruins Game 1 win over the Rangers, the play of the three young Bruins defensemen, and the fatigue Jagr has shown on the ice.
Pierre McGuire joins Tom Caron and Mut to discuss the Bruins young defensemen, the intensity and energy level in the game, and the Rangers offense.
Shawn joined the program to discuss another overtime win for the Bruins. When asked about Game 7 against Toronto, Thornton said that he would like to keep his specific comments in the dressing room private, but acknowledged that he encouraged Tyler Seguin to up his play and it paid off in overtime.
Barry joined the guys to help breakdown the Bruins overtime win last night in game one. Barry said that he has rarely seen a team dominate as much as the Bruins yet be forced to an overtime.
Boomer joined the program to discuss the tough loss for his beloved Rangers. Boomer told the guys that Lundqvist will be better in game two and predicted a seven game series.
Millar joins the show to discuss the recent Sox slide, Jacoby Ellsbury's lack of power, and hitting in the big leagues.
We talk all things game one with Jack Edwards of NESN, and get to hear a little from Jack's Finnish protege as well.
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We talk about the report that Rob Gronkowski may now be a candidate for back surgery with a disc problem. Is Gronk just an injury prone guy? Or is he not rehabbing proberly? Can the Pats build an offense around a guy who is so inconsistently on the field? We discuss.
The Bruins have almost finished raking the Leafs, the Red Sox struggle from the mound, Miami Heat fans show their level of class.
Daily Planet Wednesday May 8th
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