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Kevin Garnett had 26 points and 12 rebounds to help the Boston Celtics reach 50 victories for the first time in 16 years by beating the Philadelphia 76ers 100-86 on Monday night.
Ray Allen scored 21 points and Paul Pierce had 17 in another stellar outing for The Big Three as they helped Boston celebrate the Big 5-0.
The Celtics opened with a 15-0 run, won their ninth straight game and reached the 50-win mark for the first time since they finished the 1991-92 season 51-31.
Andre Miller scored 22 points and Andre Iguodala had 17 for the Sixers, who had an eight-game home winning streak snapped. Samuel Dalembert, who complained last week about his minutes and his touches, missed his first eight shots and scored two points.
Miller appeared to hurt his back when he crashed to the court in the third quarter. Miller limped back on defense, but stayed in the game.
The Sixers also lost starting shooting guard Willie Green to a strained lower back in the first quarter, leaving them with an aching backcourt for games this week against Detroit, Chicago and San Antonio.
Sam Cassell made his Boston debut and was whistled for three fouls in his first 3:05. Cassell, signed after being bought out by the Los Angeles Clippers, had not played since spraining his right wrist on Feb. 20 and went scoreless.
No worries on this night. The Celtics had plenty of offensive punch without him.
James Posey and Eddie House hit consecutive 3-pointers and Garnett drilled a 19-footer in the fourth to stretch Boston's lead to 93-77 and start to send Philly's crowd to the exits.
The Sixers honored members of their 1983 championship team at halftime, rekindling memories of when Boston and Philadelphia had one of the fiercest rivalries on the league.
The series has cooled in recent years as both franchises hit down periods, but there was plenty of buzz coming into this one with the Celtics holding the best record in the Eastern Conference and the Sixers playing their best basketball in years and a playoff berth in sight.
Perhaps it was a case of big-game jitters, but the Sixers were ill-prepared.
Pierce hit two straight 3s, Allen sank one and Garnett swished a 20-footer to help Boston race to a 15-0 lead.
When Reggie Evans finally sank a free throw with 7:40 left in the first to make it 15-1, he heard mock cheers from a crowd expecting a more competitive start.
Once the Sixers settled down, they shook off their cold touch from the floor and quickly got back into this one. Iguodala hit a 3 that brought them within three points and the Sixers trailed 26-20 at the end of one, a surprising surge from a team that seemed out of it early. Boston led 53-47 at halftime.
This program aired on March 11, 2008. The audio for this program is not available.
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