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News » Depleted 76ers are edged by Celtics

Depleted 76ers are edged by Celtics

Depleted 76ers are edged by Celtics BOSTON - The 18,624 packed inside TD Banknorth Garden didn't seem to think the Boston Celtics could lose.

Not to the 76ers .

Not with their team healthy, the Sixers' lineup a stitched-up mess.

That sold-out crowd was right, but barely.

Last night, the Celtics won a game in which they played poorly, sneaking past the shorthanded Sixers , 113-110.

Paul Pierce led the way with the 27 points as Boston improved to 11-4. The Sixers slipped to 5-10.

This morning, the Sixers should be thankful for a day off.

Last night they were without two starters: point guard Lou Williams (broken jaw) and power forward Elton Brand (tight hamstring). Both will be evaluated today.

In their place, Sixers coach Eddie Jordan started rookie point guard Jrue Holiday and third-year forward Jason Smith. Holiday finished with 10 points, Smith with eight.

"Oh, well," Jordan said afterward. "Same thing I told the team: If we make the commitment to defend like that and push the pace like that and rebound and talk on defense, we make that commitment, we're going to make a run. . . . We just have to believe in the system and let it carry over from game to game."

The Sixers had two chances to tie the game late, the first with 3.3 seconds left, the second with 1.8 seconds left.

Both times the Sixers had sideline inbounds plays in front of their own hoop. Neither went as planned. Each time, the Celtics fouled, sending a Sixer to the free-throw line before he could attempt a potentially game-tying three-pointer.

With 1.8 seconds left, Boston immediately fouled Jason Kapono, whose intentionally missed second free throw was kept alive by Smith but ended the game.

With 3.3 seconds left, swingman Andre Iguodala, inbounding, missed a wide-open Holiday on the opposite wing.

"He was open," Iguodala said. "And I forgot who was [covering] the inbounds pass, but he made it tough for me to see. There were a lot of things going on during the play, so I made sure I went through my first three options, and the whole time he was open on the wing."

In an arena where you need your best, the Sixers , for the first time this season, looked as if they might have found the answer.

First it was Kapono (20 points), whose jumper looked worth every cent. Later it was Willie Green, who scored more points, 18, than he played minutes. In between it was Iguodala, who did just enough of everything - 25 points, nine rebounds, nine assists - to keep the Boston faithful frustrated.

The Sixers led by one at halftime, six entering the fourth quarter. They trailed by as many as 10 in the final frame but continued to slash into Boston's lead.

Still, one sensed that the Sixers , eventually, would run out of responses.

"It seemed like they had a lot of breaks," Iguodala said. ". . . The biggest thing we have to continue to do is play as one. When we play teams at the top of the league, we tend to rely on each other a little bit more."

Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at 856-779-3844 or kfagan@phillynews.com.

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 26, 2009


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