for this game

Pierce, Celtics rout 76ers without Iverson

Dec 14, 2006 - 2:45 AM PHILADELPHIA (Ticker) -- While the Boston Celtics are potential suitors for superstar Allen Iverson, they had the answer against his struggling teammates.

With Iverson trade rumors continuing to swirl, Ryan Gomes and Paul Pierce scored 18 points apiece as the Celtics overwhelmed the undermanned Philadelphia 76ers with a 101-81 victory.

Tony Allen had 16 points for Boston, which shot 52 percent (37-of-71) from the field as it completed a perfect three-game road trip - all against Atlantic Division opponents.

"You look at the schedule and you see three games on the road, you don't mark three wins next to it," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "It was three division wins and I don't care if it is against the best teams or the worst teams. It feels good for us."

With a combination of promising young players and available draft picks, the Celtics have been one of the many teams rumored to be interested in trading for Iverson. The four-time scoring champion has been inactive for the last three games after requesting a trade.

"Just the feel of the game and the energy was not in the building (without Iverson)," Pierce said. "It was hard for me, especially going against them like that, to be motivated. It's sad that his days in Philly are numbered but it's time to move on."

Boston took advantage as Philadelphia struggled to score without their primary option. Leading by two points at halftime, the Celtics outscored the 76ers, 58-40, in the second half to secure the victory.

"This team has relied on Allen to shoot the ball for so many years and all of a sudden to just change it, it's hard," Sixers guard Kyle Korver said. "We have to learn to adjust a little bit, and it's going to take longer than three or four games."

Pierce was 6-of-12 from the floor and 3-of-6 from the arc. Gomes shot 7-of-10 and grabbed seven rebounds.

"We knew that Philadelphia was desperate for something positive around here," Pierce said. "We knew that if we gave them any kind of confidence, anything can happen. We wanted to come more aggressive in the third quarter and extend our lead."

With road victories over New Jersey, New York and Philadelphia, the Celtics used stellar defense to propel them to victory.

"This road trip we allowed 90, 90 and 81 (points) and that equals wins," Rivers said. "You play defense like that every night, even when your offense isn't working, you at least have a chance. We played decent defense and that allowed us to stay in the game."

Starting in Iverson's place, Kevin Ollie scored 14 points and Chris Webber added 11 and 11 rebounds for the 76ers, who shot just 40 percent (29-of-73) and were 0-of-5 on 3-pointers to pick up their ninth straight loss.

Normally a reliable shooter, Korver struggled and scored seven points on 3-of-14 shooting.

"We got a young team and we just have to stay positive," Korver said. "Everybody is frustrated and we haven't won a game in a while. You just stay positive and you just keep on pushing forward. There is a lot of talent, and we have bring it all together."

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