Jrue Holiday scored 20 points and the Philadelphia 76ers forced a seventh game in the Eastern Conference Semifinals with an 82-75 win over the Boston Celtics in Game 6 on Wednesday night at Wells Fargo Center. Game 7 will be played Saturday night in Boston.
"They played with a lot of energy tonight," said Celtics head coach Doc Rivers. "I really just thought they outplayed us tonight. ... We have to do a better job offensively, I thought we had a lot of empty possessions offensively. We played in random a lot tonight."
Philly featured a balanced offensive attack, with six players scoring nine or more points. Elton Brand scored 13, Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner each had 12 points and Lou Williams had 11 points off the bench for the Sixers, who finished the game having made 32-of-70 field goals to shoot 45.7 percent after shooting under 40 percent in the first half.
Paul Pierce led all scorers with 24 points for Boston, which had one of its worst offensive performances in recent memory, shooting 33.3 percent on 26-of-78 shooting. Kevin Garnett had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Rajon Rondo had nine points, nine rebounds and six assists, Ray Allen scored nine and Brandon Bass scored eight. Boston had 16 turnovers and only had 14 assists to Philly's 22, but it did win the rebounding battle, 48-37.
"Offensively, we were challenged tonight," said Pierce, who was only 5-of-11 from the field but made 13-of-13 free throws. "We didn't get the ball movement we got in Game 5."
Boston's first half was painful to watch, but then again, so was Philadelphia's. Thanks to a Mickael Pietrus' quarter-ending three, the Celtics led 36-33 at the intermission. Both teams shot a combined 35.5 percent in the half, with the Celtics making only 13 of 41 baskets in the half. Pierce led the Celts with 11 points despite making only 3-of-5 field goals. Garnett was 3-for-10 from the field with eight points and Bass had seven points in 2-of-10 shooting.
Iguodala scored six and Williams had four of Philly's final seven points in the third quarter, helping the Sixers build a 60-54 advantage late in the period, and Rondo's 14-footer brought the Celtics within four through three. Philadelphia pushed its lead to double-digits -- the first such lead for either team -- 70-59 with 7:15 to play. However, the Sixers left the door open for a final Celtics run, and a three from Allen with 1:40 left pulled Boston within six, 78-72, and a much-needed three from Pierce made it a five-point contest, 80-75, with 32 ticks left. Philly wrapped up the game with a pair of baskets at the free throw line.