PHILADELPHIA — Jrue Holiday scored 20 points, and Elton Brand had 13 points and 10 rebounds to lead the tough and determined Philadelphia 76ers past the Boston Celtics, 82-75 on Wednesday night to send the Eastern Conference semifinals back to Boston for Game 7.
No team has won consecutive games in this series where neither team has played well enough to seize control.
Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo could be playing their last game together Saturday night if they can't find a way to hang on to the ball and put away a Sixers team that won't quit.
Former 76ers All-Star Allen Iverson earned a roaring standing ovation when he presented the game ball. By the end, the fans were on their feet for Holiday, Brand and Andre Iguodala, who had 12 points, as did Evan Turner.
The Celtics posted ugly numbers across the board: Blame the loss on the 33 percent shooting, the 17 turnovers or the 3-for-14 three-point shooting. Either way, there's enough to go around.
Pierce had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Garnett had 20 points and 11 boards.
The Sixers again failed to put up the sparkling numbers in the box score usually required for a deep postseason run. They missed eight of nine three-pointers, shot a woeful 17-for-28 from the free-throw line and had 12 turnovers.
But when the Sixers really needed that game-changing basket, there was Turner twisting and fighting through defenders down the lane. When the Sixers needed a stop, there was Brand, ripping a rebound away from Boston, even with painful neck and shoulder injuries that keep him awake at night.
NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James was the leading vote-getter for the league's all-defensive squad, while Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler didn't even crack the first team.
Confused? So were plenty of others — even a Harvard graduate.
Jeremy Lin, Chandler's teammate in New York, took to Twitter to ask for an explanation.
The answer is because the voting is done by different parties. A media panel voted for Defensive Player of the Year, while the all-defensive team vote was conducted by the league's 30 head coaches, who voted for a first and second team by position and were not allowed to pick their own players.
They favored Orlando's Dwight Howard, the NBA's leading rebounder and its top defensive player three straight years before Chandler, as their center.
Also on the first team were Thunder forward Serge Ibaka, who led the league in blocks and was runner-up to Chandler for Defensive Player of the Year; Clippers guard Chris Paul, the league leader in steals; and Grizzlies guard Tony Allen.