Philadelphia topples Eastern Conference-leading Boston at home

Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett (5) defends as Philadelphia 76ers' Spencer Hawes (00) scores in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 11, 2011, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)
Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett (5) defends as Philadelphia 76ers' Spencer Hawes (00) scores in the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 11, 2011, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr) (H. Rumph Jr - AP)
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By DAN GELSTON
The Associated Press
Friday, March 11, 2011; 10:51 PM

PHILADELPHIA -- Elton Brand played a big part in the 76ers win over the best team in the East.

He loved the crowd going wild from start to finish.

The scene looked and sounded like a playoff game for the Philadelphia 76ers - a spectacle they expect to repeat.

"We definitely feel like we're growing into one of the better teams in the East," Brand said.

Brand scored 14 points, Spencer Hawes had 14 points and 10 rebounds to help the Sixers beat the Boston Celtics 89-86 on Friday night.

The Sixers led by 10 points and controlled the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics for most of the fourth quarter.

The Sixers held on a game after they blew a five-point lead with a minute left in regulation in Wednesday's overtime loss to Oklahoma City. They haven't lost consecutive games since Jan. 19-20.

"Perfect, perfect basketball for us to get this game tonight against that caliber of a team," Sixers coach Doug Collins said.

The Celtics missed eight straight baskets over a 6-minute span late in the fourth to lose their eighth conference game of the season.

Lou Williams' jumper just a shade over the 5-minute mark put the Sixers ahead 83-81 and they never trailed again. Jodie Meeks made two free throws after he was hammered by Paul Pierce on a fast break attempt and the Sixers came away with one of their biggest wins of the season.

Nenad Krstic had 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Celtics.

Andre Iguodala had 13 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Sixers. Meeks scored 12 and Thaddeus Young 11.


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