There is another day for the 76ers to play basketball this season, at least one more, as they handled the Boston Celtics in Game Six at the Wells Fargo Center in front of a crowd fueled by an appearance by Allen Iverson and strong, gutsy play from the home team.
Because of Wednesday night's 82-75 win, the teams will play the deciding Game Seven on Saturday in Boston's TD Garden at a time to be determined.
"That was a gutty win to say the least," said 76ers coach Doug Collins. "We had 33 points at halftime with five missed free throws and nine turnovers. It wasn't a masterpiece. In the second half we took away a lot of those dunks and layups. Second half, we only had three turnovers.
"The one thing I wanted us to do was keep pushing."
The Celtics appeared to have nothing left in their beat up old gas tank. Heck, the paint appeared to be peeling, the body rusting and the interior torn, too. Ray Allen hobbled. Paul Pierce labored, and the main enemy Kevin Garnett seemed to fight most of the night was Father Time.
Still, they found a way to keep up with the younger 76ers, probably because for the most part the Sixers decided to stay in the slow lane with the Celtics, putting along during most of the game.
Whenever the Sixers tried to pass, the Celtics would cut them off. And it was the slowest part of the game in which the Sixers struggled most as they converted only 17 of their 28 free throws.
Until Wednesday, the talk of the aged Celtics had been mostly that -- talk. They had shown little sign of their significant years catching up to them, fighting the younger Sixers throughout. And they did the same thing in this game. But when the legs needed the extra lift on a jumper or a quicker shuffle to stop a penetrating Sixer, it just wasn't there.
Pierce (24 points) and Garnett (20) were able to combine for 44 points, but they both had to reach way into their Hall of Fame skills to find them. Garnett did all of his damage from outside of 15 feet, a place the Sixers would prefer him to be, and Pierce used his craftiness to get most of his points from the foul line.
In the fourth quarter, the Sixers got to most of the loose balls, corralled offensive rebounds and speedily worked give-and-gos for easy baskets. They were fresher, faster, quicker and mostly younger.
"We didn't have it," said Boston coach Doc Rivers. "They had a lot of energy, got a lot from the building. They outplayed us tonight. Fortunately they missed free throws. But we had a lot of empty possessions. We played random a lot. We never established Kevin. Even though he had points, it was just not the type of points we need from him."
Jrue Holiday led the Sixers with 20 points and dealt six assists. Brand gutted through a sore neck and shoulder for 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Iguodala and Turner had 12, and Williams chipped in with 11.
Heat's Haslem out
MIAMI -- Udonis Haslem insists he meant no harm. The NBA deemed otherwise, and the Miami Heat will be without one of their co-captains when they try to close out the Indiana Pacers tonight (8 p.m., ESPN).
Haslem was suspended for Game Six of the Miami-Indiana Eastern Conference semifinal series. The NBA also said Miami reserve center Dexter Pittman will miss three games in response to his flagrant foul against Indiana backup guard Lance Stephenson in the final seconds of Game Five.