76ers top Celtics to force Game 7 in East semis

By Dan Gelston

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, May 23 2012 9:38 p.m. MDT

Iguodala split two defenders and threw down a ferocious dunk over Pierce to draw the foul. He made his first free throw after missing his first four and the Sixers led by five.

Pierce led the parade to the line for the Boston. He made his first 11 attempts for a Celtics team that was 17 for 17 through three quarters. The Celtics made only 19 field goals through three.

"We've got to move the ball and continue to play the defense that we've been playing," Pierce said.

The Sixers also couldn't find their way from the 3-point line and missed their first six attempts until Iguodala nailed one for a 58-52 lead.

Garnett caught some heat after calling Philly fans "fair weather" after Game 5 in Boston.

Well, the forecast called for thunderous cheers after Iguodala buried his 3.

That helped the Sixers take a 60-56 lead into the fourth and put them 12 minutes away from Game 7.

This time, the Sixers weren't blowing a lead.

Turner, who never met a clutch attempt he didn't like, went right-to-left on a drive down the lane for a nine-point lead. The 6-foot-4 Holiday brushed off the 4-inch difference and went high over Garnett for a one-handed bucket and an 11-point lead.

"Someone else was talking bad about our fans, so it was good to get this victory for them," Brand said.

While the Sixers swapped shot makers on almost every possession, the Celtics never found that third and fourth option behind Pierce and Garnett.

"We never really established Kevin," coach Doc Rivers said. "Even though Kevin had points, it wasn't the type of points we needed."

Rondo had tortured the Sixers over the first five games, but was limited to nine points (4 for 14 shooting) and six assists.

He'll need to return to form at home for the Celtics to have a chance at avoiding the upset.

"It's been a tough series. It's down to a Game 7," Garnett said. "We've played well at times, they've played well at times. But now, we'll take it home and see what we can do."

Iguodala and Turner scored 12 points. Lou Williams had 11 and the Sixers outscored Boston 42-16 in the paint.

"I just want our guys to play with no fear," Collins said.

Collins had the Sixers watch a highlight video from Game 7 of the 1982 Eastern Conference finals on Tuesday. The Sixers blew a 3-1 lead in that series and were forced to win Game 7 at Boston to reach the finals — which they did.

Thirty years later, the Sixers get to try again.

Notes: Iverson cupped his hand to his ear and received the loudest ovation of the night. He watched the game from a suite and his eyes watered up when he was shown later in the game on the big screen as the crowd, thousands wearing a No. 3 jersey, went wild and chanted, "MVP!" Iverson posted on Twitter, "You can always come home again!!!" ... Celtics assistant coach Tyronn Lue was famously stepped over by Iverson in the 2001 NBA finals. ... Celtics G Avery Bradley (shoulder) sat out. Rivers said Bradley and Ray Allen are both considered day to day. ... Collins was stunned Iguodala was left off the NBA's all-defensive squad. Collins said Iguodala should have been "no worse than a second-team defender." ... Mickael Pietrus hit the only 3 of the half for either team at the buzzer to send the Celtics into the break ahead 36-33.

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