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Iguodala sparks rally as Sixers stun Celtics

Mar 25, 2008 - 3:37 AM By Mike Petraglia PA SportsTicker Contributor Writer

BOSTON (Ticker) - Andre Iguodala literally helped the Philadelphia 76ers steal a win from the Boston Celtics.

Iguodala scored 28 points to spark a furious rally as the Sixers erased an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat the Celtics, 95-90, on Monday night at TD Banknorth Garden.

The power forward had three key steals and dunks in a stunning 19-0 run to lead Philadelphia to its first win over the Atlantic Division champions in four tries.

Iguodala scored 10 straight points to cap the 19-point burst for the 76ers, who used a dominant performance in the paint to win for the 10th time in 12 games and move into sixth place in the Eastern Conference, a half-game ahead of Toronto.

"Every game we've won throughout this stretch has been huge for us," Iguodala said. "Whether we've put the game away early or we've fought back like against Denver or San Antonio. We've had some great games. All of them are equal. We've needed all of them."

Andre Miller added 20 points for surging Philadelphia (36-35), which moved over .500 for the first time this season.

"It was big," 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "You have no idea. We've come a long way to get over .500 and lot of credit goes to the guys in there. We just continue to fight and fight and we have a long way to go but, this was a very impressive win for us."

"It shows how hard we've worked to get back but I think we still have to have that mentality like we're a team that's still under .500 and still fighting," Iguodala added. "It's not over yet. We've gotten to a point where we want to be, which is over .500, but we still don't have an (playoff-qualified) 'x' by our name."

Kevin Garnett had 18 points while Leon Powe added 16 for Boston (55-15), which lost its second straight after winning the first four games on their five-game Western Conference trip.

"You can't blame that," Garnett said. "Everyone's gotta do the same thing in this game. We can't cry about having to fly, and what it is. It's part of it and we have to deal with it."

"Well, not a good way of returning home from a trip," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "I didn't think we played with a lot of great energy tonight, guys, but I don't know if it was fatigue or us just having one of those nights."

The Celtics controlled the opening quarter, twice building leads of eight points. Powe's finger-roll layup with 26.5 seconds remaining in the period put Boston ahead, 28-20.

Ray Allen picked up his second foul with 1:20 left in the first quarter, putting Boston's starting backcourt on the bench. Rajon Rondo collected his second foul with 4:41 remaining in the period.

With Rondo and Allen reduced to watching, Powe put on a show. The second-year forward out of California scored 10 points in the second quarter and led the Celtics with 12 points in the first half.

Reggie Evans and the 76ers caught a break when his apparent pass to the basket was swatted away by Garnett, who was charged with goaltending. The basket cut Boston's lead to 52-48 at halftime.

Miller's layup with 1:06 remaining in the third tied the game at 66-66. But Eddie House responded immediately with a three-point jumper that re-established the lead, 69-66.

The Celtics enjoyed their biggest lead, 80-69, when House drilled a jumper with 8:20 remaining in the fourth.

But Boston went cold and Philadelphia answered with the next 19 points, tying the game, 80-80, when Iguodala stole the ball from Garnett and streaked the length of the court for a slam dunk with 5:48 remaining.

"The first half of the game, we knew we could get this game but we weren't doing the little things, like getting to the shooter quick enough, hustle to get the rebound and get position," Sixers center Samuel Dalembert said. "At the end of the third quarter, we started stepping it up. And in the fourth quarter, we wanted to go back and focus on the defense again."

Iguodala's follow-up slam of Miller's missed reverse layup with 4:45 remaining gave the 76ers their first lead of the game, 82-80.

"We didn't change anything," Cheeks said of his team's defense. "They did a great job of shadowing the ball."

Paul Pierce hit 1-of-2 free throws with 1:38 remaining in the game to end the run, it was too little, too late for Boston, which went nearly eight minutes without a field goal.

It was the second straight game that the Celtics blew a fourth-quarter advantage, after leading New Orleans on the road Saturday night.

"I thought what killed us was the turnovers and we put them to the line too much," Pierce said. "(Philadelphia) shot 44 free throws and we let the game slip away. It's no excuse, we gotta keep our turnovers down especially late in the game, execute our plays down the stretch of these games."

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