Celtics 107, 76ers 91
PHILADELPHIA – Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo combined for 74 points Wednesday night, as the Boston Celtics routed the Philadelphia 76ers 107-91 in Game 3 of their NBA Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Garnett scored 27 points, Pierce 24 and Rondo 23 as the Celtics took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven set and reclaimed the homecourt advantage. Game 4 is scheduled for Friday night in Philadelphia.
Garnett, who shot 12-for-17 from the floor, also grabbed 13 rebounds. Pierce collected 12 and Rondo handed out 14 assists.
Neither team had been able to generate much offense in the first two games of the series, which had seen the Sixers answer Boston’s 92-91 victory in Game 1 with an 82-81 victory in Game 2. But after falling behind by seven early in the second quarter, the Celtics breezed, shooting 54.5 percent from the floor in the last three quarters (30-for-55), while outscoring the Sixers 79-58.
Boston, which shot 51.9 percent in all, led by as many as 27 points in the second half.
Pierce, plagued by a bad knee and hounded by Philadelphia’s best defender, Andre Iguodala, shot 5-for-20 in the first two games and missed his first six shots Wednesday. But he rallied to make six of his last 11. He also made 11 of 14 free throws.
Thaddeus Young had 22 points for the Sixers, and Jrue Holiday added 15.
Holiday scored 10 of his points in the first quarter, when the Sixers shot 61.9 percent and assumed a 33-28 lead. But the Sixers, who also scored the first basket of the second period to go up by seven, were outscored 32-14 the rest of the quarter to fall behind 60-49 at halftime. Garnett crammed 13 points into that stretch.
In all, Garnett shot 8-for-11 and scored 17 points in the first half. Rondo also scored 17.
Holiday finished the first half with 10, as did teammate Thaddeus Young. But the Sixers shot just 6-for-19 in the second quarter (31.6 percent), while the Celtics knocked down 13 of their 20 attempts (65 percent).
NOTES: Earlier in the day, Celtics coach Doc Rivers was one of four coaches named to the NBA’s revamped 10-member competition committee. He said that while the matter had been discussed among the coaches, he had never been asked whether he wanted to be part of the committee. Rather, he was informed by an email from the league office that he was on it. “It was pretty funny,” he said. “I just happened to read it and I said, ‘Oh, OK.’ … I think it’s a good move. I’m happy to be on it.” … Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was booed when he was shown on the video screen. Quarterback Michael Vick, seated alongside Lurie in a luxury box, was not. … The Eagles’ first-round draft pick, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, was also in the crowd, as was cornerback Brandon Boykins, a fourth-round choice. Veteran guard Todd Herremans and ex-Eagles running back Brian Westbrook were on hand as well.. … Sixers coach Doug Collins is fond of saying that he coached both teams when he served as a TV analyst on NBA games. “I was undefeated, too, baby,” he said. “Won an Emmy for that (crap).”