Final

Regular Season Series (Game 3 of 4)

Series starts 12/13

Game 1: Wednesday, December 13th
Celtics101Final
76ers81
Game 2: Friday, December 22nd
76ers98Final
Celtics83
Game 3: Friday, March 30th
Celtics82Final
76ers88
Game 4: Wednesday, April 11th
76ers102Final
Celtics94

Celtics 82

(22-50, 11-25 away)

76ers 88

(29-43, 19-17 home)

Coverage: CSN

7:00 PM ET, March 30, 2007

Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA

1 2 3 4 T
BOS 20 11 27 2482
PHI 25 19 23 2188

Top Performers

Boston: D. West 16 Pts, 6 Reb, 6 Ast, 3 Stl, 1 Blk

Philadelphia: A. Iguodala 23 Pts, 5 Reb, 12 Ast, 3 Stl

Celtics-76ers Preview

STATS LLC

With the Boston Celtics looking to finish the season on a positive note, star Paul Pierce might not be around to help.

Plagued by foot and elbow problems, Pierce is considering shutting himself down for the rest of the season, but is still expected to be in the lineup Friday when the Celtics visit the Philadelphia 76ers.

Pierce played 53 minutes and scored 32 points in Boston's 105-96 double-overtime victory over Orlando on Wednesday for its second win a row.

The Celtics (22-49) still own the worst record in the Eastern Conference, but have posted a 9-7 record since Feb. 24.

Pierce, who hit key 3-pointers at the end of regulation and the first overtime Wednesday, has felt the wear and tear on his body after missing 24 games with a stress reaction in his left foot and an infected left elbow. Boston has 11 games left and will miss the playoffs for the second straight year, making it a viable option for Pierce to call it a season.

"My body, I've got to start listening to it," said Pierce, averaging a team-high 25.0 points. "Sometimes it hurts for me to straighten out my arm. I've got to think about my future and I've got to listen to the doctors and see what they think. I've been a little rebellious, I know I have. But I think that's just me being stubborn, being a competitor. You've got to be smart also."

Al Jefferson had 23 points and 13 rebounds and Kendrick Perkins had 11 points and 12 boards against Orlando as Boston beat a playoff contender for the second straight game. The Celtics defeated Atlantic Division-leading Toronto 95-87 on Monday.

A victory Friday would give Boston its first winning month of the season.

"We're getting more and more excited for next year because if we would have had our full team all year, there's no doubt in my mind we would have made the playoffs," said Jefferson, who has 45 points in his last two games after scoring four in a loss to Dallas last Friday.

Like Boston, Philadelphia (28-43) has high hopes for next season. Despite losing 111-108 at Washington on Wednesday, the 76ers are 8-5 in March and will post its first winning month of the season.

Philadelphia is 23-25 since Allen Iverson was traded to Denver on Dec. 19, and is still a longshot for a postseason berth. The 76ers are 11th in the Eastern Conference, 4 1/2 games behind Orlando for the eighth and final playoff spot.

Andre Iguodala is the player this franchise may build itself around. Iguodala, averaging a team-leading 18.2 points, scored 26 and matched a season high with 15 assists Wednesday as the 76ers nearly came back from 10 points down in the fourth quarter.

"We kept scrapping," said Iguodala, held to 31 points over his last three games. "They did a good job of really getting up big, and that was the determining factor in the game. We had to fight to get back and it was too late."

Iguodala had 31 points on 11-for-15 shooting and nine assists in Philadelphia's 98-83 win over Boston on Dec. 22 in the teams' most recent meeting.

Each team has won on the other's home court this season. The clubs will close the season series on April 11 in Boston.

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