76ers 75, Celtics 85
Paul Pierce fouled out of Game 7 with 4:16 remaining in the fourth quarter. That play sent opposite thoughts through the minds of the Celtics and 76ers.
Doug Collins’ take on Philadelphia’s sideline was, “We thought we had a great chance to win”
On the contrary, Doc Rivers described the moment like this: “It was almost like shocking to your system, because a charge means, ‘Oh gosh... he’s out.’ ”
It was a shock to Boston’s system and Philadelphia absolutely thought it had a great chance to win. But all of that changed when Rajon Rondo took over.
With Pierce watching from the sideline, Rondo stepped into the role of captain on the parquet floor. He scored seven consecutive points in the first 2:07 after Pierce fouled out of the game. Rondo accounted for nine consecutive points for the Celtics after Pierce fouled out. Those points came via a driving layup along the left baseline, a 2-pointer from the left wing that was originally ruled a 3-pointer, a bomb of a 3-pointer that seemed like it was launched from Cape Cod, and then two free throws.
Rondo’s streak of points helped Boston grow its lead from three points all the way up to 10 in a very short period of time. There was a feeling throughout the arena that the Celtics were destined to win this contest once those shots fell through the basket.
That feeling was correct.
The stretch of take-over basketball by Rondo helped Boston take control of the contest and eventually secure a spot in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Key Box Score Line
Rajon Rondo had been called out by media across the country for being drastically outplayed during Game 6 against Philadelphia.
He shut all of those people up tonight.
Rondo didn’t just dominate tonight’s game, but he did so in a fashion that only he can. In other words, he recorded yet another playoff triple-double – the ninth of his career – by tying for the game high with 18 points and also recording 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
It wasn’t one of the off-the-charts triple-doubles that Rondo is accustomed to, but it was a triple-double nonetheless. Rondo racked up the impressive statistics while taking over the game in the fourth quarter. He accounted for 11 points, three rebounds and four assists during the final period alone.
Box Score Nuggets
- Two Celtics (Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett) notched double-doubles and Paul Pierce was one rebound away from one, too. Philadelphia didn't have a single player record a double-double.
- Rondo actually recorded a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
- Philadelphia shot just 35.0 percent from the field.
- The Celtics made just three of their 17 3-point attempts, good for 17.6 percent.
- All five of Boston's starters scored in double-figures, led by Rondo and Garnett's 18 points apiece.
- Andre Iguodala tied for the game high in scoring with 18 points of his own.
- This was the first game of the series in which the team that lost the third quarter won the game.
- Garnett grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.
- Rondo committed seven of Boston's 15 turnovers
- Pierce scored 15 points and had nine boards but fouled out of the game.
- Elton Brand also fouled out of the game.
- Boston shot 20-of-22 from the free-throw line.
- Philadelphia's largest lead was one point.
- Neither team scored more than 32 points in the paint.
Quote of the Night
Rajon Rondo on how he felt after Paul Pierce fouled out of the game, which Rondo said was partly his fault: "I felt I owed him one. He got me back in Game 2 in Atlanta, and I just felt I owed him one."