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Celtics rally to topple Sixers in Game 1
Boston's Mickael Pietrus bumps chests with teammate Paul Pierce (34) during a timeout against the Philadelphia 76ers in the fourth quarter of Saturday's game. (REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi)
BOSTON -- Kevin Garnett had 29 points and 11 rebounds and Rajon Rondo added 13 points, 12 rebounds and 17 assists as host Boston staved off Philadelphia's upset attempt in the opener of the Eastern Conference second-round series.
Paul Pierce added 14 points and Ray Allen tallied 12 for fifth-seeded Boston, which trailed for most of the contest.
Andre Iguodala scored 19 points, Evan Turner had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Spencer Hawes added 15 points for eighth-seeded Philadelphia, which is playing in the second round for the first time since 2003.
Game 2 is Monday in Boston.
Garnett's three-point play put Boston ahead for good with 2:52 remaining and he added a 17-footer during a 7-0 run that gave the Celtics a 90-84 lead. The 76ers pulled within a point on two free throws by Jrue Holiday with 3.4 seconds left before Boston ran out the clock after Rondo eluded Philadelphia's efforts to foul.
The 76ers never trailed in the first half and led by double digits early in the fourth quarter before Boston rallied.
Boston's first lead came on Avery Bradley's basket with 9:44 left in the third quarter and the Celtics led 53-49 after a 10-footer by Brandon Bass with 7:50 left. Philadelphia responded with eight straight points to regain the lead and had a 71-67 advantage entering the final quarter.
Lavoy Allen had two baskets in the first 68 seconds of the fourth as the 76ers pushed the lead back up to 10. The Celtics answered with a 16-5 surge and took an 83-82 lead on Rondo's 17-footer with 3:47 remaining.
Hawes hit a 13-footer 26 seconds later for Philadelphia's final lead of the contest.
Philadelphia scored the first seven games and led 15-6 just past the midway point of the opening quarter. The 76ers led by 10 entering the second quarter and took their biggest lead at 45-32 on Turner's basket with 3:44 left in the half. Boston closed with a 10-2 run to trail 47-42 at halftime.
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GAME NOTEBOOK: Rondo has eight career playoff triple-doubles, tying him with Oscar Robertson for fourth most in NBA history. ... The double-double was Turner's first of the postseason. ... Boston was just 2 of 18 from 3-point range but hit 18 of 19 free throws ... Holiday was just 3 of 13 shooting and missed all four of his 3-point attempts..