76ers top Celtics to force Game 7 in East semis
By DAN GELSTON
Posted May 23 2012 11:08PM
PHILADELPHIA (AP) Jrue Holiday scored 20 points, and Elton Brand had 13 points and 10 rebounds to lead the tough-and-determined Philadelphia 76ers past the Celtics, 82-75 on Wednesday night to send the Eastern Conference semifinals back to Boston for Game 7.
No team has won consecutive games in a series where neither team has played well enough to seize control.
Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo could be playing their last game together Saturday night if they can’t find a way to hang onto the ball and put away a Sixers team that won’t quit.
Former 76ers All-Star Allen Iverson earned a roaring standing ovation when he presented the game ball. By the end, the fans were on their feet for Holiday, Brand and Andre Iguodala for keeping the eighth-seeded Sixers alive for at least one more game.
The Celtics posted ugly numbers across the board: Blame the loss on the 33 percent shooting, the 17 turnovers or the 3 for 14 3-point shooting. Either way, there’s enough to go around.
Pierce had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Garnett had 20 points and 11 boards.
The Sixers again failed to put up the sparkling numbers in the box score usually required for a deep postseason run. They missed 8 of 9 3-pointers, shot a woeful 17 of 28 from the free throw line and had 12 turnovers.
But when the Sixers really needed that game-changing basket, there was Evan Turner twisting and fighting through defenders down the lane. When the Sixers needed a stop, there was Brand, ripping a rebound away from Boston, even with painful neck and shoulder injuries that keep him awake at night.
The Sixers wrote “Huddle Up and Fight” on their locker room chalkboard.
They did just that and are now one win away from reaching the conference finals for the first time since 2001.