The Boston Celtics defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 85-75 in Game 7 of the 2012 NBA playoffs and now move on to the Eastern Conference finals.
The Celtics got great play from point guard Rajon Rondo late in the fourth quarter after Paul Pierce fouled out of the game on an offensive foul driving on Thaddeus Young. Rondo scored nine consecutive points down the stretch including two timely baskets that put the Celtics up for good. Rondo made a clutch jump shot followed by a three-pointer with the shot clock winding down putting the Celtics up by 10 points.
Ray Allen (11 points) struggled to shoot from the field but did make a couple of big three-point shots in the game that helped Boston keep its lead over the younger Sixers squad. Kevin Garnett (18 points, 13 rebounds) and Brandon Bass (16 points) were able to make their jump shots and were aggressively guarding Elton Brand (15 points) and Spencer Hawes (four points) and limited rebounding opportunities.
Rondo once again showed how important he is to the Celtics offense by creating shots for others thanks to his ability to get into the lane. Rondo finished the night with a triple-double (18 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists).
Before Paul Pierce fouled out, the 76ers were able to keep the game close by forcing turnovers and getting fast-break opportunities allowing for easy baskets including a dunk by Andre Iguodala. However, the 76ers missed key free throws late in the game that came back to haunt them in the fourth quarter.
The Celtics will now face the Miami Heat (with Game 1 starting on Monday night) looking to match up against the likes of Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.
The 76ers will look to use this postseason experience to their advantage next year with a good portion of their young players in place.