C's Drop Second Straight


C's Drop Second Straight

The road-weary Celtics didn't look comfortable at home last night.

They turned cold in the fourth quarter and lost their second-straight game, this one a 95-90 decision to the Sixers at TD Banknorth Garden.

Philadelphia outscored Boston, 26-10, in the final 8:19 and had a 19-0 run in the quarter.

For the Celtics, it was the first loss in four games this season against the surging 76ers (36-35). The Celtics have also dropped two straight at home.

Not long ago, the Sixers were considered a potential first-round playoff opponent for the Celtics. But after going 10-2 in March, the seventh-place Sixers are thinking about moving up to fifth.

"The sky is the limit," said guard Willie Green. "But our focus is taking it one game at a time knowing that we control our own destiny in terms of playoffs. I think we can be in a good situation, but we have to continue to take care of business.

"It's a blessing to be in this situation. It's a credit to the guys we have on this team. Everybody is buying into the system, working hard every day, and feeding off each other. It's evident when we go out and play."

The Celtics were coming off a 4-1 eight-day road trip that ended with a loss at New Orleans Saturday night, and coach Doc Rivers didn't relish the thought of playing the rejuvenated Sixers.

"We should go back to the college system where I can pick our schedule in a good way," Rivers joked. "I wouldn't play certain teams. I definitely wouldn't have played Philly after a five-game road trip, I can tell you that."

Celtics forward James Posey was not with the team because of personal reasons, according to a team official. A team source said Posey was absent because his significant other went into labor yesterday. It was the sixth game he's missed this season. Brian Scalabrine was activated in his absence.

The Celtics finished the first quarter with a 28-22 lead after shooting 61.9 percent from the field. Ray Allen scored 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting in the first. The Sixers shot 41.7 percent from the field and had 5 fast-break points.

The Celtics went into halftime with a 52-48 lead, but not before Kevin Garnett was called for a questionable goaltending with 0.5 seconds on a 4-foot jumper by Reggie Evans that seemed short. Garnett and Rivers had words for referee Scott Wall afterward.

"That's freaking awful," yelled Rivers.

The Celtics were outscored, 26-24, in the second quarter despite getting three 3-pointers by Paul Pierce and 8 points and 4 rebounds from Leon Powe. Andre Iguodala scored 8 of his 13 first-half points in the second for Philadelphia.

An Andre Miller lay-in tied the game at 66 with 1:08 left in the third quarter. But Eddie House hit a 3-pointer with 51.7 seconds left in the third and the Celtics entered the fourth period with a 71-66 lead.

The Celtics opened the fourth with a 7-2 run finalized by a House 3-pointer to take a 78-68 lead.

The Sixers, however, responded with a 12-2 run to tie the game at 80 on a fast-break dunk by Iguodala.

After the ball deflected off referee Scott Wall's foot, Iguodala snatched it up and took off for a dunk to give the Sixers an 85-80 lead with 3:31 left. Iguodala nailed a jumper with 2:17 remaining to make it 88-80.

Pierce made one of two free throws with 1:38 remaining to slice Boston's deficit to 88-82. It was the Celtics' first score since House nailed a 3-pointer at the 8:20 mark.

House's 3-pointer with 16.2 seconds remaining brought Boston within 92-88, but Sixers center Samuel Dalembert nailed two free throws with 17.1 seconds left to seal the game.

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