GAME SEVEN (CELTICS WIN SERIES 4-3) - Saturday, May 26 at TD Garden, Boston , MA
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Notebook: Celtics 85, Sixers 75
By Brian Robb, for NBA.com
THE FACTS: Rajon Rondo had his second triple-double of the series when it mattered most, carrying the Boston Celtics down the stretch to a 85-75 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers at TD Garden. Rondo had 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, leading the way for the hosts as the Celtics advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals to face the Miami Heat. Kevin Garnett added 18 points and 13 rebounds for Boston in the back-and-forth affair as both teams struggled to score points for the opening 36 minutes. Boston's backcourt finally broke out offensively in the fourth quarter though, as Rondo and Ray Allen combined for 19 of Boston's 30 points, helping the Celts' pull away late for a hard fought series win. Andre Iguodala paced the visitors with a team-high 18 points, but got little help from his teammates, as the Sixers shot just 35 percent from the field on the night.
QUOTABLE: "We feel we can beat Miami. Obviously we got to this point. There's no doubt in my mind that we can, so we got to go down there and take care of business."
-- Rondo on facing the Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals
THE STAT: After shooting just 36.7 percent over the first three quarters, Boston's offense caught fire over the final 12 minutes. The Celts' shot a sizzling 69.2 percent (9-of-13) from the field in the fourth quarter, and hit 9-of-10 attempts from the free throw line.
TURNING POINT: After Paul Pierce fouled out with 4:16 remaining in the game with Boston leading by just three points, Rondo seized control on the offensive end, scoring 11 of his 18 points before the final buzzer, outscoring Philadelphia himself 11-7 the rest of the way.
QUOTABLE II: "I don't look at them as the Big Three. I look at them as the championship four. My hat is off to them."
-- Doug Collins on the Celtics' core
HOT: Garnett -- The 36-year-old capped off a sensational series with yet another double-double Saturday night. Against Philadelphia over seven games, he averaged 19.7 points per game and 11 rebounds per game.
NOT: Allen -- Boston's sharpshooting guard missed eight of his first nine shots from the field over the first three quarters, including all five from 3-point range.
QUOTABLE III: "I think we learned a lot. We have a really young team. Again with a shortened season, we kind of learned on the fly and playing against a veteran team like this really helped us grow. We just learned a lot"
-- Jrue Holiday on his team's season
INSIDE THE ARENA: New England Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork watched the game courtside with his wife Bianca.
QUOTABLE IV: "You know he was able to step up, be aggressive, knock down a couple big threes, get to the bucket. That was huge for us. You know he felt a sense of urgency, he smelled it, how close we were. He was able to take over the game with his scoring, and it was just phenomenal to watch."
-- Pierce on Rondo
BAD MOVE: Playing with five fouls over the final six minutes of the game, Pierce attacked the basket a bit too aggressively, allowing Thaddeus Young to draw the charge. Boston however was able to overcome the loss of their captain for the final 4:16 of the contest and escape with the win.
ROOKIE WATCH: Lavoy Allen -- The former Temple star continued his effectiveness off the bench as the season ended for Philadelphia. The big man had two points and six rebounds in 16 minutes and continues to have a bright future in Philadelphia.
NOTABLE: Avery Bradley did not play after undergoing shoulder surgery on Friday. The second-year guard is out for the postseason after the procedure. ... The Celtics missed their first 14 3-point attempts. ... The Sixers were able to stay in the game largely due to 17 second chance points thanks to 13 offensive rebounds. ... The Sixers missed six free throws (14-of-20) and shot just 68.7 percent from the charity stripe during the series. Comparatively, Boston hit 84.3 percent of their free throws over the seven games against Philadelphia. ... The Celtics had 13 of their 14 fast break points in the first half. ... The Celtics improved to 18-4 in Game 7's at home. They have now won 19 of their past 21 games at TD Garden.
UP NEXT: Eastern Conference Finals Game 1: Boston @ Miami 8:30 P.M. on Monday May 28th.