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Celtics 99, 76ers 82: Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce Lead Boston Over Philly

For three quarters on Tuesday night, the Boston Celtics played like the team that made it to the NBA Finals just one year ago.

Rajon Rondo finished with 16 points and 13 assists as the Boston Celtics torched the Philadelphia 76ers, 99-82, in a potential first round playoff series on Tuesday night at TD Garden.

Boston (54-23) trailed by two, 26-24, after one quarter but outscored the Sixers, 30-24, in the second quarter. The Celtics scored 45 points in the second half while holding Philadelphia to 32 point in the final 24 minutes.

The win moved the Celtics into a tie for second place in the Eastern Conference with the Miami Heat. Despite the improvement, both Boston and Miami sit three games behind the Chicago Bulls in the conference.

Paul Pierce scored 18 points to lead the Celtics, who shot 52.6 percent in victory. Kevin Garnett had 14 points and three rebounds and Ray Allen added 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting for Boston.

Evan Turner did the bulk of the scoring for Philadelphia (40-38), scoring a game-high 21 points. Elton Brand had 12 points and five rebounds, Jrue Holiday scored 11 and both Andre Iguodala and Jodie Meeks scored 10 for Philly.

Boston returns to action on Thursday when it faces conference leader Chicago at the United Center on Thursday night at 8:00 p.m. EDT.