BOSTON (AP) -- The Celtics have passed the Philadelphia 76ers in
the Atlantic Division standings, a development Boston coach Jim
O'Brien termed "shocking."
Paul Pierce scored 31 points, Jiri Welsch added 22 and the
Celtics overcame a 12-point deficit in the final quarter to defeat
Philadelphia 87-84 Sunday night.
"Not everybody's on the same page, nor should they be,"
O'Brien said of the Celtics, who made a six-player trade with
Cleveland on Monday. "We clearly have a tremendous amount of work
to do. Our rotations are in a shambles right now."
The Celtics, who trailed 65-57 at the start of the fourth
quarter, used a 14-0 run to take a 75-70 lead with 4:09 left.
Welsch scored six of those points on a pair of 3-pointers, and
Pierce made a free throw following a technical foul on 76ers coach
Randy Ayers to give the Celtics their first lead since the second
Philadelphia answered with a 3-pointer from Aaron McKie with
2:40 left to go ahead 77-75, but Mike James' 3-pointer with 50.7
seconds remaining gave Boston the lead for good, 80-77.
"We let the pace of the game get away from us to start the
fourth quarter," Ayers said. "Before that I thought we had
control of the game."
Pierce went 16-for-18 at the foul line and added 10 rebounds and
seven assists. Vin Baker had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
"These guys are playing with tremendous confidence and I'm
thankful for that," Pierce said. "I'm trying to find open guys
and they're knocking down open shots and making me look good."
Allen Iverson missed his fourth consecutive game because of a
right knee contusion. McKie paced the 76ers with 24 points, and
rookie Kyle Korver went 5-for-5 from 3-point range and scored 18.
"I thought we had that game won," Korver said. "But they made
that run and hit some 3's."
The 76ers forced eight turnovers in the second quarter to take a
45-33 lead at halftime. McKie's layup with 5:03 left in the quarter
capped a 20-6 run.
Korver made three 3-pointers in the last 3:09 of the third
O'Brien picked up his second technical of the season in the
first quarter. ... The Celtics go on the road for their next four
games. ... The 76ers have a 8-3 record in Boston since the 1998-99