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Boston Celtics

Pierce helps Celtics top slumping 76ers, 109-101

  • Philadelphia 76ers' Jrue Holiday (11) looks to pass as Boston Celtics' Avery Bradley (0) defends in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia.  The Celtics won 109-101.(AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

    Philadelphia 76ers' Jrue Holiday (11) looks to pass as Boston Celtics' Avery Bradley (0) defends in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. The Celtics won 109-101.(AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

  • Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett ,left drives against Philadelphia 76ers' Arnett Moultrie (5) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

    Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett ,left drives against Philadelphia 76ers' Arnett Moultrie (5) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

  • Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce (34) shot against  Philadelphia 76ers' Spencer Hawes (00) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia.  The Celtics won 109-101.(AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

    Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce (34) shot against Philadelphia 76ers' Spencer Hawes (00) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. The Celtics won 109-101.(AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

  • Boston Celtics' Courtney Lee (11) shoots as Philadelphia 76ers' Royal Ivey  defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

    Boston Celtics' Courtney Lee (11) shoots as Philadelphia 76ers' Royal Ivey defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

  • Philadelphia 76ers' Thaddeus Young (21) celebrates with Jrue Holiday (11) after he scored against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

    Philadelphia 76ers' Thaddeus Young (21) celebrates with Jrue Holiday (11) after he scored against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

  • Philadelphia 76ers' Evan Turner (12) celebrates after he scored against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

    Philadelphia 76ers' Evan Turner (12) celebrates after he scored against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

  • Boston Celtics' Jordan Crawford (27) and Philadelphia 76ers' Dorell Wright (4) fight for a rebound in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

    Boston Celtics' Jordan Crawford (27) and Philadelphia 76ers' Dorell Wright (4) fight for a rebound in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

  • Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce (34) and Philadelphia 76ers' Thaddeus Young (21) fight for a loose ball in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

    Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce (34) and Philadelphia 76ers' Thaddeus Young (21) fight for a loose ball in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

  • Philadelphia 76ers' Jrue Holiday (11) looks to pass as Boston Celtics' Avery Bradley (0) defends in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia.  The Celtics won 109-101.(AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

    Philadelphia 76ers' Jrue Holiday (11) looks to pass as Boston Celtics' Avery Bradley (0) defends in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. The Celtics won 109-101.(AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

  • Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett ,left drives against Philadelphia 76ers' Arnett Moultrie (5) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

    Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett ,left drives against Philadelphia 76ers' Arnett Moultrie (5) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

  • Philadelphia 76ers' Jrue Holiday (11) looks to pass as Boston Celtics' Avery Bradley (0) defends in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia.  The Celtics won 109-101.(AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)
  • Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett ,left drives against Philadelphia 76ers' Arnett Moultrie (5) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)
  • Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce (34) shot against  Philadelphia 76ers' Spencer Hawes (00) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia.  The Celtics won 109-101.(AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)
  • Boston Celtics' Courtney Lee (11) shoots as Philadelphia 76ers' Royal Ivey  defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)
  • Philadelphia 76ers' Thaddeus Young (21) celebrates with Jrue Holiday (11) after he scored against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)
  • Philadelphia 76ers' Evan Turner (12) celebrates after he scored against the Boston Celtics in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)
  • Boston Celtics' Jordan Crawford (27) and Philadelphia 76ers' Dorell Wright (4) fight for a rebound in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)
  • Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce (34) and Philadelphia 76ers' Thaddeus Young (21) fight for a loose ball in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)
  • Philadelphia 76ers' Jrue Holiday (11) looks to pass as Boston Celtics' Avery Bradley (0) defends in the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia.  The Celtics won 109-101.(AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)
  • Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett ,left drives against Philadelphia 76ers' Arnett Moultrie (5) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)

PHILADELPHIA – So much for Boston’s grim outlook once Rajon Rondo was lost for the season.

Avery Bradley has followed the trusted blueprint of dogged defense and impact scoring to help push the Celtics up the standings.

Bradley scored a season-high 22 points, and Paul Pierce had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Boston Celtics to a 109-101 win over the Philadelphia 76ers last night.

Kevin Garnett scored 18 points to help the Celtics improve to 12-4 since Rondo was lost with a torn knee ligament. The Celtics entered in seventh place, but were no more than two games behind the next three teams ahead in the standings. Bradley was 10-of-15 and chipped in seven rebounds and five assists, the kind of numbers needed for the Celtics to slip into a coveted top-four spot for the playoffs.

“My teammates have confidence in me and I have confidence in myself,” Bradley said. “When I have an open shot, I have to take it. That’s how we play on this team. It helps us when I do that.”

Led by Pierce, the Celtics controlled the game and used a 9-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to seal the win. Last May, these two teams went to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Last night, the Sixers lost for the ninth time in 10 games and are well out of the playoff race.

Jrue Holiday had 18 points and 10 assists for the Sixers, and Thaddeus Young had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Evan Turner scored 18 points.

“We kept competing, trying to bring effort,” Turner said. “But it’s rough. They hit 3s and made some tough shots.”

The Sixers beat the Celtics twice this season after stretching the Celtics to seven games in last year’s playoff series. But the Sixers are a team in free-fall because of injuries and a roster ill-equipped to handle the losses of postseason standouts Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams.

There was some mild concern late in the fourth period when Holiday, their All-Star point guard, was hurt. Holiday grabbed his right ankle and hobbled back on defense after an awkward drive. He hopped on one foot after a steal attempt went nowhere, but did stay in the game.

Nothing much went right for the Sixers.

“We just missed too many easy shots,” said Royal Ivey, who scored 10 points.

Like so many teams over the last 15 years, the Sixers had no real answer for Pierce. He hit his first four 3-point attempts, each one more crushing than the last. When the Sixers went on a mini-run to close within eight, Pierce and Jason Terry connected on consecutive 3s to build a comfortable lead.

Pierce had averaged 21.8 points over 54 career games against the 76ers.

At one point in the first half, both teams were 15-of-32 from the field. The Celtics found other ways to separate themselves from the Sixers: Boston went to the free-throw line and made 3s. The Sixers missed 9 of 11 3-point attempts in the first half and were 0-for-3 from the free-throw line.

The Sixers finished 5-of-21 on 3s and 14-of-18 on foul shots They did score 64 points in the paint.

But they only made 41 of a whopping 100 shots from the floor. The Celtics shot a solid 55 percent in the third (11-of-20) and 53 percent (10-of-19) in the fourth to methodically build to a 15-point lead.

Boston got sloppy at the end of the third quarter and had three turnovers in the final 90 seconds. That helped the Sixers score six straight points and slice the lead to five. Jordan Crawford opened the fourth period with a pair of 3-pointers that made it 91-76 and the Celtics never let up from there.

Crawford’s points and production off the bench were needed for a veteran team with another game tonight at Indiana. He scored 12 points and fellow reserve Jeff Green added 16. Pierce’s perfection helped the Celtics go 11 of 19 from 3-point range.

“That’s the new us in a lot of ways, the ball finds the open guy,” Coach Doc Rivers said. “It’s simple, but it’s hard to do unless you buy in. Everyone has bought in.”

NOTES

∎ Injured 76ers C Andrew Bynum (knees) was re-examined in New York yesterday by Dr. David Altchek. GM Tony DiLeo said surgery remained an option.

∎ Sixers G Nick Young (sprained left ankle) did not play.

∎ The 76ers will play two preseason games in Europe next season. They’ll play Uxue Bilbao on Oct. 6 in Bilbao, Spain, and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Oct. 8 in Manchester, England.

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