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Celtics Outlast Sixers in Game Seven

May 26, 2012, 11:05 PM EDT

Boston Celtics top the Philadelphia 76ers in Game Seven of the NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals
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They battled. They defended. They struggled from the field and the free throw line. Ultimately, they dropped Game 7 to the Celtics in Boston 85-75. We’ll rehash what the game and series meant as it relates to the future of the franchise at a later date, but right now I think we can all agree that this team exceeded expectations.

Rajon Rondo posted a triple-double (18-10-10) and Kevin Garnett contributed 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead the C’s. Brandon Bass shot incredibly well once again – hitting 6-10 from the field and 4-4 from the charity stripe.
The Sixers were led by Andre Iguodala, who scored 18 points and held Paul Pierce to just 15 points on 6-14 shooting. Elton Brand played well, scoring 15 points and pulling 6 rebounds. Evan Turner struggled from the floor, shooting just 3-8 and posting a -23 on the night.
The Sixers trailed for much of the game, but somehow managed to stay within striking distance. It looked like things would go their way after Pierce was whistled for his sixth foul – a charge taken by Thad Young late in the fourth quarter. 
However, Rondo stepped up and hit a long two and then a three from a step or two beyond the arc. As ABC color analyst Jeff VanGundy pointed out, if you’re the Sixers those are shots you want Rondo taking. Give him credit though for stepping up and knocking them down.
Ultimately, the Sixers could not execute enough in the half-court. If we’re being honest though in Garnett, Pierce and Rondo the Celtics had the three best players in the series. The fact that the Sixers pushed Boston – albeit an aging Boston team – to seven games was an accomplishment in and of itself. 
Decisions loom on the horizon. Do you resign Spencer Hawes? Do you amnesty Elton Brand? Do you consider trading Igoudala? These are questions to be answered. Tonight the Sixers came up a bit short. They were unable to overcome their limitations. With that being said, this team and this fan base has a lot to be proud of.
AP Photo/Elise Amendola