Brand’s tip-in ends Boston streak

It’s been a streak-busting week for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Days after snapping their own 12-game skid, the 76ers ended

Boston’s run at 11 wins, beating the first-place Celtics 98-97 on

Friday night on Elton Brand’s tip-in with 7.7 seconds left.

“We closed out a game against a team winning 11 in a row, the

best in the league,” said Brand, who had 23 points and eight

rebounds. “It bodes well for our confidence.”

The Sixers ran off 12 consecutive losses before beating

Golden State on Monday – their sixth win of the season, none of

them against teams with a winning record. They had won only once in

their previous 14 games and they were without newly acquired Allen

Iverson, who has arthritis in his left knee and had it drained

twice this week.

So they didn’t figure to pose much of a challenge to Boston,

which hadn’t lost in almost a month and came into the game tied for

the best record in the NBA. Boston led by 15 points in the third

quarter before Philadelphia took an 86-84 lead – its first since

the opening minutes.

Brand tipped in Marreese Speights’ missed jumper in the

closing seconds, and Paul Pierce missed a jumper at the other end

that would have put Boston ahead. Ray Allen was unable to get off a

good shot after the rebound.

The Celtics fell to 8-4 at home. (They are 12-1 on the road.)

In 2007-08, when they won their 18th NBA title, they were 35-6 at

home and 31-10 on the road.

“Tough one to swallow,” Pierce said. “When you have a team on

the ropes like that, especially at home … we’ve got to do a

better job. I don’t know what the problem is about us playing at

home this year.”

Speights scored 17 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, Andre

Iguodala scored 18 points and Willie Green added 16 for


Kevin Garnett had 21 points and 10 rebounds, Kendrick Perkins

had 12 points and 16 rebounds, Allen scored 17 and Rajon Rondo had

13 points and 10 assists. The Celtics played most of the game

without Rasheed Wallace, who was ejected in the second quarter

after drawing two technicals and having to be restrained by

assistant coach Tom Thibodeau.

“Whether he’s right or wrong doesn’t matter. You’ve got to

try to control yourself to stay in the game,” Celtics coach Doc

Rivers said. “He understands his value to the team, and his

teammates understand his value. At some point, they’ll talk to


Wallace was ejected for the 30th time in his NBA career – the

most for any player since 1992. He also has 10 technicals this

season; 16 is an automatic suspension.

He was not available for comment after the game.

“He’s been doing it a long time,” Rivers said. “He’s an

expert at it. But we knew that when we got him. I still love him.”

The Celtics led 59-44 early in the third quarter before

Philadelphia scored 10 straight – six of them by Green. Boston led

73-67 with a minute left in the third before the Sixers cut it to

two points, then made it a one-point game, 81-80, with 8:27 to


It was tied at 84 when Perkins fouled Brand with the shot

clock winding down. He hit both free throws to give the Sixers

their first lead since the opening minutes. The teams swapped

leads, and Garnett was fouled going for an alley-oop with 23

seconds left, making the free throws to put Boston ahead 97-96.

Tony Allen had a season-high 10 points, all in the first half

in his fifth game back from a right ankle injury. Brand scored 12

off the bench in the half, and Perkins had 13 boards by the break.

NOTES: The Celtics had a pregame ceremony to recognize Ray

Allen’s 20,000th point, which came Dec. 10 against Washington.

Garnett presented him with the official game ball. He’s the sixth

player to reach the milestone as Celtic, and the 33rd in NBA

history. … Celtics fan Chris Miller, of nearby Quincy, made a

half-court shot during a break to win $50,000.