Garnett was called for an illegal screen, giving the Sixers two shots, but what looked like an anticlimactic end got intriguing when Allen hit a prayer 3-pointer. Jodie Meeks hit both freebies, and Garnett's three at the buzzer was meaningless.
Fourth quarter, :12, Sixers 78-75: Odd choice by the Celtics to foul with 14 seconds to go. That was their foul to give and there was a four-second difference on the game clock.
Turner got the ball on the ensuing inbounds, got foul and hit both free throws.
Fourth quarter, :40.4, Sixers 76-75: What happened to the two teams that could not score? The Celtics and Sixers combined for 45 fourth-quarter points, with 26 of those scored by the Celtics.
Bradley drilled a three that looked like it might be a dagger, but Holiday responded with his own three as the Sixers refused to go away.
Fourth quarter, 4:10, game tied 65-65: Garnett really wanted a couple of fouls on Allen, but he eventually came to grips with the fact he was not going to get them. He muscled in a short jumper for his sixth point of the fourth quarter to pull the Celtics even.
The Celtics doubled up the Sixers in scoring 16-8 in the first eight minutes of the fourth.
Fourth quarter, 6:50, Sixers 65-61: These guys aren't the Hawks. The Sixers showed plenty of resiliency in answering the Celtics' run. It was not pretty — nothing in this game really has been — but Philly did just enough to stay ahead. Hawes and Allen defended Garnett exceptionally well in the post, forcing him into a missed shot and a traveling violation.
Fourth quarter, 8:53, Sixers 61-59: Pietrus felt he would make a shot eventually. He ended up making two to propel the Celtics back into the game.
Dooling set the tone with his defensive energy, diving for a loose ball that went out of bounds. The Celtics went into uber-defense mode after that. Pietrus followed his two 3-pointers by blocking a jumper by Williams.
If it's the fourth quarter, the Celtics' defense must be going into hyperdrive.
End of third quarter, Sixers 57-49: A couple things stood out.
For one thing, the Sixers outscored the Celtics 21-11 in the third quarter and the Celtics were in danger of being held in single digits until Pierce drew a shooting foul and hit both free throws with 2.4 seconds on the clock.
Another noteworthy this was that Iguodala picked up his fourth personal foul on that play. Iggy has harrassed Pierce since Game 1, and if the Sixers' best defender is limited by foul trouble in the last quarter, that could mean good things for Pierce. That in turn would mean good things for the Celtics.
Third quarter, 2:37, Sixers 51-47: Hollins and Stiemsma are known for their defense, so it was not a surprise that the Celtics had trouble scoring when they paired the two in the post.
The Sixers scored six unanswered points to pull ahead by four points, which was downright awe-inspiring compared to the shooting in the rest of this game. Rondo was up to nine assists, but there may not be enough scoring the rest of the way for him to get to 10.
Third quarter, 5:46, Celtics 43-40: Iguodala dribbled to the hoop, hit a crazy reverse layup and drew the foul.
It was the first basket for either team in more than two minutes.
Scoring is at a premium, to say the least.
Third quarter, 8:43, Celtics 43-38: Crawford has a happy trigger finger (whistle lung?) for offensive fouls in this one. He called what was at least the fourth one of the night, which has contributed to the teams' 24 combined turnovers. That is not the only factor, of course.
Halftime, Celtics 38-36: The second quarter featured either some really great defense or some really shoddy offense. The teams combined for 28 points and entered the half shooting 31 for 83 combined.
The source of Bradley's injury indeed was his left shoulder, which was sore and will be re-evaluated, according to the team.
The Good: Rajon Rondo had everthing clicking with eight assists and only one turnover. If the rest of the Celtics had made some more shots, he could have been in double digits in assists. … Jrue Holiday is not too bad a point guard himself. The Sixers' ever-improving floor general led everyone with 13 points. He also had three assists and only one turnover. … Ray Allen shot 3-for-7 from the field, and in this game that counted as blazing hot.
The Bad: There is a lot of it to go around. Evan Turner and Andre Iguodala, who were huge in Game 1, shot 2-for-9 from the field as a pair. We will just stop there.
The So-so: Brandon Bass led the Celtics with eight points in the first half, but it came on 12 shot attempts and three of those were blocked. The Celtics, particularly Rondo, were trying hard to get Bass involved, but he just did not seem to have it. … Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen gave the Sixers decent minutes up front, with Hawes nabbing six boards with two blocks and Allen getting five rebounds and two blocks. Still, they were outhustled by Garnett and Hollins for most of the first half.
Second quarter, 2:56, Celtics 35-33: It seems like every team is always searching for a 7-footer who can bring some energy. Hollins fits that description to a T.
Hollins disrupted the Sixers on pick-and-rolls and drew an offensive foul on Iguodala to give the ball back to the Celtics. The Celtics' big man trio of Garnett, Stiemsma and Hollins looked to be faring pretty well in this one.
Bradley went to the locker room, and we can only assume it's his left rotator cuff. We will keep you updated.
Second quarter, 6:08, Celtics 33-29: Ryan Hollins has opened up a whole new part of Rondo's game. Due to the style (we would never blame it on age) of Rondo's star teammates, the point guard has not been known for his alley-oop passses. He connected with Hollins for a massive two-handed oop that brought a roar from the crowd. Rondo also hit Stiemsma with a lob for a dunk earlier in the game, but Hollins has been his favorite oop partner. On the break Rondo often just throws it up in Hollins' vicinity, hoping to make something happen. It happened in the second quarter, with the reserve big man scoring four points.
Second quarter, 7:47, Sixers 29-27: Dan Crawford, a veteran referee, made no friends on either team early in the second quarter. He whistled Ray Allen for an offensive foul and then pegged Hawes for an illegal screen. Both players naturally protested.
The Celtics went cold to begin the second frame. After shooting 11-for-22 in the first quarter, they were 1-for-7 in the first 4:13 of the second quarter. The Sixers went 4-for-5 to pull into the lead.
End of first quarter, Celtics 25-21: The mission of the first quarter was apparently to involve all the guys who have not been involved offensively in the playoffs. Bass, Mickael Pietrus and Greg Stiemsma got early looks, with Pietrus following Rivers' suggestion from Game 1 that he take it to the hoop.
Rondo took the gameplan to such an extreme, he passed up at least two uncontested layups to dish out. He did not take a shot until 32 seconds remained in the first quarter, in which time he racked up six assists and no turnovers.
First quarter, 4:49, Celtics 15-13: Much like the Celtics' second unit gave them a spark in Game 1, the Sixers' bench mob gave them a boost when Philly coach Doug Collins went to his bench early.
Lou Williams, Lavoy Allen and Thaddeus Young came in and helped the Sixers close their deficit to two points. Bass missed three of his next four shots after a hot start, and Pierce misfired on a three after hitting his first shot, a jumper over Andre Iguodala.
First quarter, 9:44, Celtics 9-0: The Celtics said they wanted to get off to a good start. I guess this counts.
Garnett needed all of 17 seconds to get on the board with a short jumper, and Avery Bradley added to that with a corner 3-pointer in transition. Brandon Bass, who has had as rough a playoffs offensively as anybody not named Mickael Pietrus, hit his first two shots as the Celtics opened the game on a 9-0 run.
Rivers was displeased with his team's slow start to Game 1, and it appeared his team got his message.
6:22 p.m.: Doc Rivers seems to enjoy a fairly good relationship with the members of the Boston media, and that was reflected in the Professional Basketball Writers Association naming Rivers this year's winner of the Rudy Tomjanovich Award.
The award is given to the coach who "best combines excellence in his craft with cooperation with the media and fans." George Karl of the Nuggets, Stan Van Gundy of the Magic and Rick Carlisle of the Mavericks.
Rivers made the tongue-in-cheek comment that this award was "right up there" with winning the NBA championsin 2008, but joking aside he seemed appreciative of the award.
Oh, and everyone is healthy and ready to go.
8 a.m. ET: Kevin Garnett delivered such a strong performance in the series opener against the 76ers, Celtics fans have to be eager to see what he can do for an encore.
The Celtics host Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Monday at the TD Garden. They needed every ounce of the effort Garnett, Rajon Rondo and others gave them in the first game, when they edged the resilient Sixers by only one point.
Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Mickael Pietrus and Avery Bradley will be slowed, but not stopped, by injuries yet again, while Andre Iguodala and the Sixers are only feeling more confident after coming so close in Game 1.
Join us for updates and analysis during the game, which tips off at 7 p.m.
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