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News » Pierce cooks Sixers' goose

Pierce cooks Sixers' goose

Pierce cooks Sixers' gooseCeltics coach Doc Rivers figured the only thing Paul Pierce didn't do last night was cook Thanksgiving dinner. He did just about everything else.

Pierce not only scored a game-high 27 points, he verbally motivated his teammates on an off night and, as Kevin Garnett said, "willed" the Celtics to a 113-110 victory over the short-handed Philadelphia 76ers at the Garden.

The Boston captain played the entire second half and contributed 7 points, 3 assists and a block in the fourth quarter.

"He's been MVP to me," Rivers said. "Not only just with his play, but all over. He was on guys in the second quarter and at halftime about our play - `There's no sense of defensive urgency, getting out to shots, stop making excuses.' He's the one who's not. He's doing everything you ask him to do.

"He's guarding guys, he's rebounding, he's making big shots, he's taking charges. I don't know what else. He can cook Thanksgiving dinner for someone and then he'd be doing it all. He's been terrific."

The Sixers closed the third quarter with a 10-2 run to take an 85-79 lead. Andre Iguodala's two free throws put Philly ahead, 87-84, with 10:24 left. Rajon Rondo, who hadn't done much all night, then provided the Celtics a much-needed spark, scoring six points and handing out two assists during a 14-3 run that put Boston up, 98-90. Rondo hit Marquis Daniels for a layup to push Boston's lead to 102-92 with 5:40 left, but Philly made one last run.

After Ray Allen missed a layup that would have put the Celtics up, 109-105, Iguodala was called for a charge in the lane against Pierce. It was a call that could have gone either way, but it was an omen that there were 34 seconds left. That's Pierce's number.

"That was pretty much the only thing I could have did in that situation," Pierce said. "Iguodala was coming at you full speed. Once he gets in the air, I'm not going to block his shot. So I just tried to stay in there and take the charge."

Then, with the shot clock winding down, Rondo dribbled out from underneath his own basket and heaved up a 17-foot fallaway jumper. Celtics fans gasped because Rondo makes very few jumpers, but he hit this one to make it a two-possession game, 109-105. There were 9 seconds left, which is Rondo's number.

Iguodala's 3-pointer pulled the Sixers within 109-108. Allen and Thaddeus Young each hit two foul shots before Eddie House made two more with 1.8 seconds left. The Celtics finally clinched the win when Jason Kapono missed a pair with 1.4 seconds left and Pierce grabbed the rebound.

"I really think tonight's game was Paul Pierce's will," Garnett said. "He and Rondo made the bigger impacts."

The Sixers certainly provided little motivation for the Celtics . They came in with a 5-9 record, and had lost three in a row and five of their last six. They hadn't scored 100 points since Nov. 9 and were missing two starters, Louis Williams and Elton Brand, and key reserve Marreese Speights, who combine for an average of 42 points. They should have been tired because they lost at Washington Tuesday night while the Celtics hadn't played since Sunday.

Earlier this month, when all three of those Sixers played, the Celtics embarrassed them, 105-74, in Philadelphia for their fifth consecutive win against Philly.

Garnett had 19 points, but only 4 rebounds. Allen scored 18 points. Kendrick Perkins collected 12 points and 8 rebounds despite sitting out the fourth quarter with foul trouble.

Iguodala led Philly with 25 points, 9 rebounds and 9 assists. Kapono scored 20 and Green had 18, both season highs. Despite being short-handed, the Sixers' bench outscored Boston's, 46-27.

The Sixers finished 13 of 20 from 3-point land, the Celtics just 7 of 27. The Sixers made only one trey against Boston in Philly on Nov. 3.

Rasheed Wallace made a 3-pointer in the first quarter to end a streak of 14 misses in a row.

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Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 28, 2009


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