So much for Boston’s grim outlook once Rajon Rondo was lost for the season.
Avery Bradley has followed the trusted blueprint of dogged defense and impact scoring to help push the Celtics up the standings.
Bradley scored a season-high 22 points, and Paul Pierce had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Boston Celtics to a 109-101 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.
Kevin Garnett scored 18 points to help the Celtics improve to 12-4 since Rondo was lost with a torn knee ligament. The Celtics entered in seventh place, but were no more than two games behind the next three teams ahead in the standings. Bradley was 10 of 15 and chipped in seven rebounds and five assists, the kind of numbers needed for the Celtics to slip into a coveted top-four spot for the playoffs.
”My teammates have confidence in me and I have confidence in myself,” Bradley said. ”When I have an open shot, I have to take it. That’s how we play on this team. It helps us when I do that.”
Led by Pierce, the Celtics controlled the game and used a 9-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to seal the win. Last May, these two teams went to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. On Wednesday, the Sixers lost for the ninth time in 10 games and are well out of the playoff race.
Jrue Holiday had 18 points and 10 assists for the Sixers, and Thaddeus Young had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Evan Turner scored 18 points.
– Reported by Dan Gelston of the Associated Press