Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 5/12/12

BOSTON -- Kevin Garnett put on another outstanding performance, pushing Boston ahead for good with a three-point play with 2:52 to play and finishing with 29 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Celtics to a 92-91 win over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Saturday night.

Rajon Rondo had his eighth postseason triple-double, with 13 points, 17 assists and 12 rebounds for Boston. Paul Pierce scored 14 points despite a rough shooting night (3 for 11), but he nailed a key jumper with 1:18 left.

Andre Iguodala led the 76ers with 19 points and Evan Turner had 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series is Monday night.

Garnett's three-point play pushed Boston ahead 86-84 and then, after grabbing the rebound of Turner's missed jumper, he nailed a long jumper to make it 88-84 with 2:18 to go.

Pierce's fadeaway jumper from the foul line made it 90-84.

Iguodala cut it to three with a 3-pointer from the top.

After Boston missed, Jrue Holiday was fouled on the other end and made both free throws to cut it to 92-91 with 3.4 seconds left.

Following a timeout, Boston inbounded the ball to Rondo, who was able to stay away from Turner's foul attempt and run out the clock.

The 76ers scored the first six points of the final quarter, opening a double-digit lead (77-67) on Lavoy Allen's jumper from the left wing. They kept holding off Boston's charge until Rondo's jumper from the left wing gave the Celtics an 83-82 lead with 3:48 to play.

But Philadelphia regained the lead when Spencer Hawes picked up a loose ball out of a scramble along the left baseline and calmly nailed a jumper, making it 84-83 with just under 3 1/2 minutes left.

Boston, which trailed by five at the half, scored the initial six points of the second half to take its first lead, 48-47, on Avery Bradley's reverse layup.

But the 76ers -- sparked by Hawes' inside play -- used a 12-2 run, pulling to a 61-55 edge midway into the quarter. Hawes had a pair of baskets and Turner also had two.

Rondo's driving layup cut the 76ers' lead to 71-67 after three.

Boston coach Doc Rivers praised the 76ers' ability to run before the game and said "if they get it going, they're going to force it down your throat."

They did just that from the start, pulling to a 7-0 lead two minutes into the game and opening it to 19-10 midway into the period en route to a 28-18 edge after one.

Philadelphia scored 10 points in the paint in the first quarter and shot 54.5 percent (12 of 22). The Celtics hit only 30 percent (6 of 20) and missed all five attempts from beyond the arc.

Turner scored six points during an 8-0 run midway through the second as the 76ers pulled to a 45-32 lead -- their biggest of the opening half -- with 3:45 left, but Boston responded by scoring 10 of the last 12 to close it to 47-42 at halftime.

NOTES: Rivers also compared Philadelphia to the Celtics' last playoff opponent. "They're like Atlanta on steroids," he joked, complimenting the 76ers' power and speed. ... Philadelphia coach Doug Collins had an interesting postgame comment the last time his team played the Celtics and lost by 22 on April 8 in Boston. "I would not want to play them in the playoffs. Everybody is looking at Miami and Chicago as the two teams (to beat in the Eastern Conference), but I wouldn't blink at Boston." Philly knocked out the Derrick Rose-less Bulls in six games on Thursday. ... Boston G Ray Allen did not participate in the morning shooting. He has been hobbled by right ankle bone spurs, but he played. ... The 76ers took two of three during the season, winning by 32 and 13 at home -- both coming on the back of consecutive games for Boston. ... Rondo entered the night leading the playoffs with 11.8 assists per game. He had eight in the first half.


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