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Garnett leads Boston over Philadelphia in one-point victory

NBA Playoffs

POSTED May 12, 2012 10:47 p.m.

BOSTON — Kevin Garnett scored 29 points — his most in the regular- or postseason this year — and added 11 rebounds on Saturday night to give the Boston Celtics a 92-91 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in the opener of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Rajon Rondo had 17 assists, 13 points and 12 rebounds for his eighth career playoff triple-double. He ran the length of the court to receive the inbounds pass and dribble out the final 3.4 seconds of the game.
Game 2 is Monday night in Boston before the series shifts to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4.
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 Holliday’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. They got only one day off before beginning the second round in Boston, where the Celtics earned their only victory against the Sixers this year.
Philadelphia won the two games at home, including a 32-point victory on March 7. None of the three regular-season meetings between the teams was close.
The Sixers scored the first seven points of the game and led by 10 at the end of the first quarter, when Boston shot 30 percent. It was 45-32 when Boston scored 10 of the last 12 points in the half, with Rondo picking up four assists and a steal in the final 3 minutes before the break.
A little more than two minutes into the third, Avery Bradley outraced Rondo to a long rebound and took it in, splitting defenders Iguodala and Holiday for the reverse layup that made it 48-47 — Boston’s first lead of the game. Philadelphia quickly retook the lead and extended it to eight points.

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