76ers 110, Celtics 113
Paul Pierce was once again the steady force for the Boston Celtics tonight as he absolutely dominated Philadelphia's defense. But while he was draining shots left and right all game long, it was one defensive play that stood out more than any.
With 45.9 seconds remaining in the game and the Celtics up by two points, Rajon Rondo stole the ball from Thaddeus Young and outletted to a wide open Eddie House at the opposite free throw line. Instead of going straight up for a layup, House pump faked with the hope that his oncoming defender would leave his feet and fly by, but that didn't happen. Instead, House was defended well and had to drop a pass off to the trailing Ray Allen, who proceeded to have his layup attempt rim out. Then it was the Sixers' turn for an outlet pass.
Andre Igoudala, who scored a team-high 25 points for the Sixers and is extremely dangerous in the open court, took a pass and immediately attacked the basket. As he took off for a game-tying shot attempt, Pierce decided this game wasn't going to be tied. The Captain sacrificed his body and stepped between Igoudala and the basket and took the charge, promptly giving possession back to the Celtics and allowing them to up the lead to four on a Rondo fade away jumper that helped seal the deal.
It wasn't the sexiest play of his game, but it was easily the most critical.
Key Box Score Line
Paul Pierce's name is getting used to being slotted into this spot, and rightfully so. The Truth put on a show tonight, making 67 percent of his field goal attempts, incorporating his teammates on offense and rebounding the ball on defense. He played every second of second half, and without his toughness and leadership on the floor, who knows what the score might have been.
Box Score Nuggets
- Andre Igoudala nearly recorded a triple-double with 25 points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
- Paul Pierce made 10 of his 15 shots en route to a game-high 27 points.
- The game featured 14 ties and 12 lead changes.
- Boston committed only 12 turnovers.
- Ray Allen (5-of-5), Paul Pierce (4-of-4) and Eddie House (4-of-4) combined to make all 13 of their free throw attempts.
- Paul Pierce tied a season-high with 42 minutes of playing time.
- Kevin Garnett took a season-high 12 free throw attempts (he made nine of them). Prior to tonight, he had not taken more than four free throws in any game this season.
- Jason Kapono (20 points) and Willie Green (18 points) combined for 38 points off the bench for Philadelphia.
- The Sixers, not known for their 3-point shooting capabilities, made 13-of-20 shots from downtown tonight.
- The Celtics struggled from behind the arc, making only 7-of-27 attempts.
- Boston outscored Philadelphia 42-32 in the paint.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on the MVP-caliber play that Paul Pierce is displaying: "He's been MVP to me. Not only just with his play, but all over. He was on guys in the second quarter and then half time about our play. There's the defensive urgency, getting out the shots, stop making excuses and he's the one that's not. He's doing everything you ask him to do. He's guarding guys, he's rebounding, he's making big shots, he's taking charges, I mean, I don't know what else. He can cook tomorrow Thanksgiving dinner for someone and then he'll be doing it all. He's been terrific."