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With Allen Iverson in attendance, Sixers send Celtics to Game 7

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With the 76ers’ facing elimination Wednesday night, a Sixers legend returned to bring them some good luck.

The often controversial Allen Iverson appeared before Game 6 to present the game ball to the official. While Iverson was cheering on some of his former Sixers teammates while undoubtedly wanting to lace up himself, it turns out the Sixers didn’t need him. With their backs against the wall, the Sixers gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about in possibly their last home playoff game of the season.  Jrue Holiday Photo AFP Getty Images, Drew Hallowell
 
It seems every game this Sixers team has a new hero. This time it was Jrue Holiday, whose 20 points and six assists led the way to a 82-75 win, which sends the series back to Boston for a deciding Game 7.  Elton Brand had another strong game with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Andre Iguodala (who for some reason failed to make the NBA All-Defensive Team)  added 12 of his own, including two clutch free throws down the stretch to extend the Sixers lead.

The overall ugliness of this series continued. The Sixers made just one of nine three pointers, shot only 17 of 28 from the free throw line and uncharacteristically turned the ball over again 12 times. As ugly as this game was, the Sixers came up big in the offensive rebounding department. They also managed to outscore the Celtics in the paint 42-16 despite double doubles from both Paul Pierce (24 points and 10 rebounds) and Kevin Garnett (20 points and 11 rebounds), who trashed Sixers fans after Game 5.  

Despite strong performances from the two Celtics superstars, the team shot 33 percent overall from the field. Perhaps the most important aspect of Game 6 was the Sixers were also ability to contain Rajon Rondo, who only had nine points on 4 for 14 shooting to go with six assists. If you slow down Rondo, you can get the Celtics out of sync.

If the Sixers can continue this in Game 7, their chances of shocking the Celtics is definitely a possibility. Wednesday was 30 years to the day that the Sixers stunned the Celtics at the old Boston Garden in the 1982 Eastern Conference Finals. Hopefully they can reduplicate this magic two days from now. No team has won consecutive games this series. Will this work in the favor of the experienced Celtics, who could be playing their final games with Garnett, Pierce, Ray Allen? Or the young upstart Sixers? Who are gaining more experience with each passing game.

Either way, it all goes down Saturday.

 

Contact Joe Vallee at jvallee@philly2philly.com

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