Celtics pull away from SixersApr 6, 2011 - 3:50 AM Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Rajon Rondo finished with 16 points and 13 assists, as the Boston Celtics used a dominant second half to beat Philadelphia, 99-82, at TD Garden.
Paul Pierce added 18 points and seven rebounds for the Celtics, who won their second straight game by limiting the 76ers to 32 points in the final two quarters.
"I really liked the way we played in the second half," Pierce said. "Came out in the third quarter with more of a sense of urgency, a lot more solid on defense."
Boston pulled even with idle Miami for second place in the Eastern Conference, but both teams are three games behind Chicago, which beat Phoenix on Tuesday.
Evan Turner scored 21 points off the bench for the Sixers, who have dropped two in a row and played without guard Lou Williams, who is out with a strained right hamstring. They are currently sixth in the East.
The first half was extremely tight, featuring 19 lead changes and 10 ties. Neither team led by more than four.
But Boston, which held a 54-50 lead at the break, started to pull away at the outset of the third. It opened the quarter with a nine-point run, which Kevin Garnett ended with a jumper.
The Sixers were back within four later in the quarter, but the Celtics quickly rattled off three baskets -- from Delonte West, Pierce and Nenad Krstic -- to expand their advantage to 70-60.
"We fought to get back in, and we cut it to four again, and then they had another defensive spurt," said Sixers head coach Doug Collins. "I told our guys how that's really what championship teams do. They might not play it for 48 minutes, but they're going to lock you down for stretches, and win those what I call five-minute skirmishes."
They were up 75-65 heading into the fourth and never let Philadelphia back in the game. West's jumper less than a minute into the final quarter made it a 77-67 contest, and the Celtics led by double digits the rest of the way.
The Sixers shot 29 percent in the second half, when Boston led by as many as 21...Garnett finished with 14 points...Elton Brand had 12 points for the Sixers, who had nine fast break points.
- PHILADELPHIA: 82
Apr 5 9:48 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 65
End of 3rd
Apr 5 9:21 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 50
Apr 5 8:37 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 26
End of 1st
Apr 5 8:03 PM
- PHILADELPHIA: 0
1st Quarter - 12:00
Apr 5 7:41 PM
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