Celtics sneak past Sixers in semifinal opener
Kevin Garnett scored 29 points and added 11 rebounds, and Rajon Rondo had 17 assists, 13 points and 12 rebounds for his eighth career playoff triple-double on Saturday night as the Boston Celtics won 92-91 over the Philadelphia 76ers in the opener of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Andre Iguodala scored 19 points and Evan Turner had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the 76ers, who advanced to the second round for the first time since 2003 by beating East No. 1 seed Chicago.
The Sixers led 77-67 with 11 minutes to play before Boston scored 23 of the next 30 points, with Rondo making a jumper to cut it to 80-79, then another with 3:37 left to give Boston the lead.
After Spencer Hawes' basket from the right baseline put the Sixers up 84-83, Rondo drove to the basket and, with his path blocked, turned and handed the ball to Garnett. He banked one in and drew the foul to give Boston a two-point lead, then added another jumper.
After misses by Turner and Lou Williams, Paul Pierce hit a fall-away jumper with 78 seconds left to make it a six-point lead -- the Celtics' biggest of the night.
Jrue Holiday's jumper cut it to three points, then Rondo fouled him with 3.4 seconds left and he made both foul shots. Boston inbounded the ball from between the benches, and Rondo sprinted back into the backcourt and outran his defender to the wrong basket as the time expired.
Pierce, who had a sprained MCL in his left knee, scored 14 points on 3-for-11 shooting. Rondo was only 6-for-15 from the floor, but he was 3-for-6 in the fourth quarter, adding five rebounds and four assists.
Both teams advanced by winning their first-round series in six games: Boston beat Atlanta, and Philadelphia eliminated the Bulls to become the fifth No. 8 seed to eliminate a No. 1.
Game 2 is Monday night in Boston, then the series shifts to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4.
(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)