Boston wins series 4-3 (Game 1 of 7)

Boston wins series 4-3

Game 1: Saturday, May 12th
Game 2: Monday, May 14th
Game 3: Wednesday, May 16th
Game 4: Friday, May 18th
Game 5: Monday, May 21st
Game 6: Wednesday, May 23rd
Game 7: Saturday, May 26th

76ers 91

(35-31, 16-17 away)

Celtics 92

(39-27, 24-9 home)

    Coverage: TNT

    8:00 PM ET, May 12, 2012

    TD Garden, Boston, MA

    1 2 3 4 T
    PHI 28 19 24 2091
    BOS 18 24 25 2592

    Top Performers

    Phi: A. Iguodala 19 Pts, 6 Reb, 6 Ast, 2 Stl

    Bos: K. Garnett 29 Pts, 11 Reb, 1 Ast, 1 Stl, 3 Blk

    Rajon Rondo's triple-double and Kevin Garnett's 29 lead Celtics by 76ers

    Associated Press

    BOSTON -- Rajon Rondo has made dozens of last-second dashes to the basket.

    This time, he went in the opposite direction.

    The Celtics point guard ran into the backcourt, grabbing the inbounds pass in stride, avoiding a foul and dribbling out the final 3.4 seconds to clinch Boston's 92-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday night in the opener of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

    "I feel like I could out-quick him. That's what I did," Rondo said. "We knew they had a foul to give. I told Doc (Rivers) to get me the ball and I could use my speed."

    Rondo had 17 assists, 13 points and 12 rebounds for his eighth career playoff triple-double. He had six points, five assists and four rebounds in the fourth quarter, when the Celtics went on a 23-7 run to turn a double-digit deficit into a six-point lead with 78 seconds to play.

    "He's an amazing player. He really is," Sixers coach Doug Collins said. "He takes that ball wherever he wants to take it on the floor."

    Kevin Garnett scored 29 points -- his most in the regular or postseason this year -- and added 11 rebounds to help Boston maintain home-court advantage in the best-of-seven, second-round series. Game 2 is Monday night in Boston before the series shifts to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4.

    "If you've watched us all season, we're not going to drop our heads," Collins said. "We live to come back and fight just as hard in Game 2, at least as long as I'm the coach."

    Andre Iguodala scored 19 points and Evan Turner had 16 with 10 rebounds for Philadelphia, which advanced to the second round for the first time since 2003 by beating East No. 1 seed Chicago. But Turner couldn't catch Rondo in the final seconds when Philadelphia had a foul to give.

    "Rondo just leaps out. That's the last thing on your mind -- him going into our side of the court," Iguodala said. "You could have a turnover down there. It's a gamble, but it's a good play. ... We could have done a better job scoping it out."

    The Sixers led 77-67 with 11 minutes to play before Boston scored 23 of the next 30 points, with Rondo making a jumper to cut it to 80-79, then another two minutes later to give Boston an 83-82 lead with 3:47 to play.

    After Spencer Hawes' basket from the right baseline put the Sixers up 84-83, Rondo drove to the basket and, with his path blocked, turned and handed the ball to Garnett. He banked one in and drew the foul to give Boston a two-point lead, then added another jumper.

    After misses by Turner and Lou Williams, Paul Pierce hit a fall-away jumper with 78 seconds left to make it a six-point lead -- the Celtics' biggest of the night.

    Boston still led by five when Jrue Holiday made a jumper, then Rondo fouled him with 3.4 seconds left and he made both foul shots. Boston inbounded the ball from between the benches, and Rondo sprinted back into the backcourt and outran Turner to the wrong basket as the time expired.

    Pierce, who had a sprained MCL in his left knee, scored 14 points on 3 for 11 shooting. Rondo was only 6 for 15 from the floor, but he was 3 for 6 in the fourth quarter, adding five rebounds and four assists.

    Hawes scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half.

    Both teams advanced by winning their first-round series in six games: Boston beat Atlanta, and Philadelphia eliminated the Bulls to become the fifth No. 8 seed to eliminate a No. 1. They got only one day off before beginning the second round in Boston, where the Celtics earned their only victory against the Sixers this year.

    The Sixers scored the first seven points of the game and led by 10 at the end of the first quarter, when Boston shot 30 percent. It was 45-32 when Boston scored 10 of the last 12 points in the half, with Rondo picking up four assists and a steal in the final 3 minutes before the break.

    A little more than two minutes into the third, Avery Bradley outraced Rondo to a long rebound and took it in, splitting defenders Iguodala and Holiday for the reverse layup that made it 48-47 -- Boston's first lead of the game. Philadelphia quickly retook the lead and extended it to eight points.

    Game notes

    Garnett scored eight points on 4 for 6 shooting in the first quarter and was the only Celtics starter to make a basket in the first. ... Ray Allen, who was 1 for 7 from the floor in Game 6 of the Atlanta series while struggling with bone spurs in his right ankle, was 3 for 5 in 14 minutes in the first half on Saturday. ... Celtics co-owner Steve Pagliuca ventured over to the media section to say hello to former player Brian Scalabrine, who was working for Comcast SportsNet. ... The Celtics were 2 of 18 from 3-point range. ... Philadelphia won the two games at home, including a 32-point victory on March 7. None of the three regular-season meetings between the teams was close.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 91 92
    FGM-FGA 36-82 (.439) 36-82 (.439)
    3PM-3PA 5-14 (.357) 2-18 (.111)
    FTM-FTA 14-20 (.700) 18-19 (.947)
    Rebounds (Offensive-Total) 8-41 9-45
    Assists 19 28
    Turnovers 11 13
    Steals 9 7
    Blocks 8 7
    Fast Break Points 13 14
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 15 (0/0) 16 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 13 6

    Top Performers

    Andre Iguodala Iguodala
    Points: 19
    Reb: 6
    Ast: 6
    Stl: 2
    Blk: 0
    Kevin Garnett Garnett
    Points: 29
    Reb: 11
    Ast: 1
    Stl: 1
    Blk: 3

    Research Notes

    From Elias: Rajon Rondo recorded his 8th career playoff triple double, moving past LeBron James into a tie for the fifth most in NBA history. It was Rondo's second triple-double this postseason.
    35-year-old Kevin Garnett totaled 29 points and 11 rebounds in the Celtics Game 1 win over the 76ers. He becomes the oldest player in Celtics history to record at least 29 points and 11 rebounds in a playoff game.
    It was just the fifth time in NBA history that a player recorded at least 13 points, 17 assists, and 12 rebounds in a playoff games. Jason Kidd was the last to accomplish that feat (April 27, 2007). Fat Lever did it twice as a Nugget (1985, 1989) and Wilt Chamberlain did so against Cincinnati on March 24, 1967 (16 points, 30 rebounds, and 19 assists).
    Rajon Rondo assisted on seven on Kevin Garnett's 12 field goals in Game 1 against the 76ers, the most assists from one teammate to another this postseason. Rondo has now assisted on 25 of Garnett's 57 field goals in the playoffs, which is also the most assists to a teammate with the top-three combinations all wearing Celtics green.
    NEXT LEVEL: The 76ers shot 30.6 percent (11 of 36) from 10 feet and farther in the final three quarters Saturday, and what was a 10-point first-quarter lead for Philadelphia turned into a one-point loss in Game 1. As the 76ers' shooting touch disappeared after the first quarter, they took a greater percentage of shots from 10 feet and beyond.
    NEXT LEVEL: The Celtics got a lot of production out of Kevin Garnett on Saturday by utilizing him in the post and on pick-and-roll plays. Of his 29 points, 21 came on those play types.
    Kevin Garnett scored 29 points to go with 11 rebounds in the Celtics Game 1 win on Saturday. That is the 40th 20-10 game in the playoffs for Garnett. The only active players with more are Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki
    Including the playoffs, the Celtics have trailed by 13 or more points in 24 games this season. Today was the second time in those 24 games that the Celtics rallied to win (the other was Jan. 26 vs Magic).
    Rajon Rondo now has 1 fewer triple-double in the last 5 postseasons than the rest of the players in the league combined.
    Slow start for the Celtics for everyone but Kevin Garnett. He went 4-6 from the field, the rest of the team went 2-14.

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