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Sixers hold off Celtics, even series; Turner's layup proves crucial

BOSTON -- Not this time, Celtics.

After letting another fourth-quarter lead slip away in Boston, Philadelphia took it right back and held on to it, fighting off every run the Celtics made down the stretch for an 82-81 victory Monday night to even the Eastern Conference second-round series at one game apiece.

"We knew to expect the same type of game," said Evan Turner, whose layup with 40.4 seconds to play put Philadelphia ahead to stay. "We did what we needed to do to win this game, just like we didn't the first time around."

Turner's layup gave the Sixers a 76-75 lead and Philadelphia clinched it by going 6-for-6 from the free-throw line over the final 12 seconds.

"We just found a way," Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said. "All season long we couldn't win these games and now our guys are believing they can do it. And it is pretty special to watch."

Turner finished with 10 points, Jrue Holiday scored 18 and Andre Iguodala added 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Sixers, who blew a 10-point fourth quarter lead as the Celtics won Game One.

Philadelphia failed to hang on to the lead again, but this time the Sixers outplayed the Celtics down the stretch.

Game Three is Wednesday in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia won its first playoff game in Boston since 1982 despite committing a playoff-high 19 turnovers and getting outrebounded, 47-36.

"We're keeping our composure. We're keeping our confidence and know it's going to be grind-out games," Iguodala said.

Every time the Celtics appeared to have regained the momentum, the Sixers came up with an answer. After trailing by eight points entering the fourth quarter, Boston's Kevin Garnett tied it at 65-all on a turnaround jumper with 4:33 to play. The Celtics had the Sixers on the verge of a turnover when Paul Pierce blocked Lou Williams and the ball went out of bounds with just .9 seconds left on the shot clock.

No problem.

Lavoy Allen got the inbounds pass and banked in a shot from 22 feet and the Sixers were back in the lead.

"Well, the clock was down to point-nine seconds. I did what I could," Allen said.

Garnett scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and finished with 12 rebounds. Ray Allen scored 17 points for Boston.

Brandon Bass had 12 points for the Celtics, who couldn't quite repeat their comeback in the series-opening 92-91 victory.

"Listen, we put ourselves in that position," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "You put yourself in position to let someone else do something, then you can lose games and that's what happened."

Philadelphia led, 57-49, entering the fourth, but Boston tied it twice before going up, 72-71, on Avery Bradley's three-pointer, setting off a series of shots from beyond the arc.

Holiday answered with a three for the Sixers, then Ray Allen threeot the lead right back for the Celtics on a three-pointer with 1:40 left. The Celtics had a chance to extend the lead after forcing the Sixers into a 24-second shot clock violation, but Rajon Rondo missed a shot and Iguodala got the rebound, leading to Turner's layup to put the Sixers up 76-75 with 40.4 seconds to go.

"We knew it'd be a close game. We just needed to get stops down the stretch and we didn't," said Pierce, who finished with just seven points.

Spencer Hawes finished with eight points and 10 rebounds and Lavoy Allen scored 10 points for the Sixers.


Big day for Irving

CLEVELAND -- There was never any doubt Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving would be named the NBA's Rookie of the Year. The only suspense was when -- and by how much.

Irving, as has been expected for months, will be presented with the award today, capping a season which he began as the No. 1 overall pick and ended it as the clear-cut top rookie.

The Cavs sent out a release Monday saying they will make a "major announcement" along with the league today at Cleveland Clinic Courts, the team's training facility in Independence. The team did not specify what will be announced, but The Associated Press was one of several media outlets to report on Sunday that Irving will win the award.

The 20-year-old averaged 18.5 points to lead all rookies -- and the Cavs -- in scoring. He also averaged 5.4 assists, finished first among rookies in field-goal percentage and dominated several games in the fourth quarter, rallying Cleveland to wins.


Today's games

*The Miami Heat say Chris Bosh will be sidelined indefinitely because of a strained abdominal muscle. Game Two of the series against Indiana is tonight (7 p.m., TNT), and Bosh's minutes will be filled by Joel Anthony and Ronny Turiaf.

*Clippers forward Blake Griffin says he will play in Game One of the Western Conference semifinals tonight (9:30 p.m., TNT) even though Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro is making no guarantees just yet.

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