PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Evan Turner had 26 points and 10 rebounds and Thaddeus Young added 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 95-94 overtime win over the Boston Celtics on Friday night.
Turner drove past Courtney Lee and tossed up an off-balance, right-handed shot for a 95-94 lead with 3.9 seconds left. Boston guard Rajon Rondo slipped and his ankles buckled on the last possession, costing him a chance to hit the potential game-winner, a dud ending to his sizzling triple-double.
The same two teams meet again Saturday night in Boston.
Rondo had 16 points, 14 assists and a season-high 13 rebounds. Kevin Garnett had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Paul Pierce scored 27 points. Jeff Green, who gave Boston its last lead in OT with a 3-pointer, scored 19 points.
Turner and Pierce nudged each other and yapped at the free throw line all throughout a fourth quarter in which neither team budged. Turner recovered after Pierce tipped his jumper and drove down the lane for a layup and an 89-87 lead with 49 seconds left.
Jason Terry missed a drive and Garnett couldn’t convert the easy putback to give the Sixers a chance to seal the win. But their miss led to more life for the Celtics. This time, the veterans delivered.
Pierce escaped a fast double team and swung the ball to Garnett — who buried the tying 20-footer with 7.7 seconds left.
Pierce showed how a veteran operates in the fourth. Turner, in his third season, is still playing through mistakes. He was trapped in the corner with a timeout to spare and tossed a wild pass into the lane and the hands of a leaping Rondo.
Rondo missed at the buzzer to send the game into OT tied at 89.
Turner made up for it in OT and even had five assists.
Rondo’s steal was another highlight in a game in which he was seemingly involved with every Boston bucket. His assist on Green’s corner 3-pointer late in the third gave him his first triple-double of the season and trimmed Philadelphia’s lead to four.
Spencer Hawes played his best game since opening night and gave the Sixers the production off the bench they’ve sorely needed in their so-so start. He answered Pierce’s tremendous dunk — he can still go at 35 — with a jumper for the lead. Hawes ended the third with a big right hand that swatted Pierce’s drive down the lane well away from the basket. The crowd of 17,921 went wild as the Sixers hung onto their 72-70 lead to end the third.
Pierce scored 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting over the first three quarters before letting Garnett do the heavy lifting in the fourth and OT.
The 76ers-Celtics rivalry used to be one of the best in the NBA. Philadelphia’s resurgence has helped heat up the series again and another tight game can only help a new generation get excited for this matchup.
Some trash talking never hurt in adding some juice to the division game, either. Turner hit a 3 over Pierce, then shouted in the Boston captain’s face early in the first quarter, though nothing really came of the exchange. Pierce and Rondo each had near-flawless quarters to set an early tone for the game. Rondo had 10 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the period.
Turner and Hawes kept the Sixers close in the second quarter and trimmed Boston’s lead to 50-46 at the break.
NOTES: 76ers G Nick Young (toe), C Kwame Brown (virus) and G Royal Ivey (groin) all sat out. Young lived up to his “Swaggy P” nickname when he walked into the locker room wearing leopard skin shoes. … The 76ers have won five of seven vs. Boston.
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