for this game

Rondo sparks key run in Celtics' win over 76ers

Nov 26, 2009 - 4:37 AM BOSTON(AP) -- Paul Pierce earned a little comp time for his extra work.

Pierce, playing nearly 43 minutes, scored 27 points and drew a key charge in the closing minutes as the Boston Celtics overcame the spirited-but-undermanned Philadelphia 76ers, 113-110, on Wednesday night.

"Paul, to me, was the savior of the game," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "I played him way too many minutes, but that happens once in a while. I told him I'd make it up to him with a 25-minute game somewhere down the road."

Rajon Rondo scored six points during a key run early in the fourth quarter and nailed a shot clock-beating jumper on the baseline in the closing seconds for Boston, which was outhustled for most of the game. Kevin Garnett had 19 points and Ray Allen 18. Rondo finished with 10 points and seven assists.

"I really think tonight's game was Paul Pierce's will that led us," Garnett said. "I thought he and Rondo made the big shots."

Andre Iguodala paced the 76ers with 25 points, nine rebounds and nine assists. Jason Kapono had a season-high 20 points on 8 of 11 shooting off the bench. Willie Green added 18 points.

Philadelphia was 13 for 20 from 3-point range.

"I thought we pushed the ball a little bit more," Iguodala said. "We played a little more tempo. That was to our advantage."

The 76ers, who lost their sixth consecutive game against Boston over the past two seasons, have lost three straight overall. But they were pleased with the effort.

"I thought as a team we came in and played well," Green said. "As a team I thought we tried to execute what the game plan was - to try and run and be physical with those guys."

Boston trailed 87-84 before Pierce tied it with a 3-pointer from the right corner with just over 10 minutes to play. On Boston's next possession, Rasheed Wallace nailed a 3 from the left wing, moving the Celtics ahead for good. Boston had been just 5 for 22 from beyond the arc before the consecutive 3s.

Rondo then took over, scoring three baskets. The 6-foot-1 point guard drove for two of his baskets; the other came off a drive on a goaltending call. He also set up Marquis Daniels for a layup, making it 98-90 with 7:09 to play.

The 76ers closed to 107-105 on Iguodala's two free throws with 1:18 to play. But he was called for an offensive foul attempting to drive against Pierce, before Rondo made a fallaway jumper with 9.6 seconds left.

Iguodala hit a 3 with 4 seconds left, but Allen and Eddie House each hit two free throws in the closing 3.3 seconds.

Boston was just 7 for 27 from behind the 3-point line.

"You've got to stick to what you do," Allen said of the shooting woes.

Playing on consecutive nights, the 76ers didn't show any wear, outhustling the Celtics to take a lead into the final quarter. Philadelphia, which relied on a rebounding edge and strong shooting from beyond the arc, led 85-79 after three.

"I told our guys at halftime they were making it an athletic contest and we were not making it a physical contest," Rivers said.

The 76ers were without a pair of starters. Guard Lou Williams broke his jaw in Tuesday night's loss against Washington and will be evaluated Thursday before coach Eddie Jordan can say how long he'll be sidelined. Forward Elton Brand was out with a sore right hamstring.

Referee Joe Crawford whistled three technicals in the third quarter: Garnett, and Philadelphia's Thaddeus Young and Samuel Dalembert.

NOTES: The 76ers are in a stretch of seven of eight on the road, with their only home game Friday against the Atlanta Hawks. ... Rivers was scheduled to fly home to Orlando on a private charter after the game to celebrate Thanksgiving Day. "It's great," he said before the game, discussing the free time on the plane. "It's like five hours away from everyone. No one knocking on your office door, no `you need to sign this or see this person' just five hours of game prep time." ... Wallace hit a 3-pointer late in the first quarter, halting a string of 14 consecutive misses from beyond the arc.