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Celtics deep-six Sixers, advance to conference finals
BOSTON -- Rajon Rondo had 18 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists and Kevin Garnett had 18 points and 13 rebounds as the Boston Celtics topped the Philadelphia 76ers, 85-75, in Game 7 to advance to the Eastern Conference finals.
Rondo took over after Paul Pierce fouled out, scoring 11 points during the final four minutes to lead the Celtics into the conference finals against the Miami Heat. Game 1 is Monday in Miami.
Andre Iguodala scored 18 points, Jrue Holiday had 15 points and nine assists and Elton Brand scored 15 points for Philadelphia, which shot just 35 percent from the field.
Boston led by just one point with 11 minutes left but opened up a 69-61 lead on Ray Allen's 3-pointer with 5:50 remaining.
Iguodala scored five points during a 7-2 run and the Sixers received further momentum when Pierce fouled out with 4:16 left. Rondo then scored nine straight Boston points and his two free throws gave Boston an 80-70 lead with 1:45 remaining.
Brandon Bass scored 16 points and Pierce added 15 for Boston.
The Celtics had an eight-point halftime lead and boosted the lead to 49-38 on a basket by Bass with 8:03 left in the third quarter. Philadelphia got back into the game with a pair of 7-0 runs and cut Boston's lead to 53-52 on Iguodala's dunk with 34.5 seconds left.
Boston led 41-33 at halftime despite shooting 37.5 percent and missing all nine of its 3-point attempts. Philadelphia shot just 28.2 from the field and committed eight first-half turnovers.
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GAME NOTEBOOK: The Celtics hit 20 of 22 free throws. ... Holiday had five of Philadelphia's nine steals. ... Boston missed its first 14 3-point attempts until Allen hit one with 9:52 left in the game. The Celtics finished 3 for 17. ... Iguodala went 5 for 8 from the free-throw line in Game 7 and was just 18 for 37 (48.6 percent) in the series.
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