May 22, 2018
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Bradley scores season-high 22 in Celtics’ win over 76ers

By The Sports Xchange, Special to the BDN

PHILADELPHIA — Avery Bradley scored a season-high 22 points Tuesday night as the Boston Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers, 109-101, at Wells Fargo Center.

Paul Pierce had 18 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for Boston (32-27), which won its third consecutive game. Kevin Garnett also scored 18 points, as the Celtics shot 50.6 percent from the field, including 11 for 19 from 3-point range. They also overcame 22 turnovers.

Thaddeus Young had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Sixers (23-36), who lost for the ninth time in 10 games. Evan Turner chipped in 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and Jrue Holiday had 18 points and 10 assists.

Bradley, known more for his defense, began the night averaging 9.2 points on 41.7-percent shooting in 27 games, having missed the first 30 after having offseason surgery on both shoulders. But he sank 10 of 15 shots to eclipse his previous season high of 18, established Feb. 25 at Utah.

Jeff Green added 16 points and Jordan Crawford 12 for the Celtics, who did not trail after reeling off 13 straight points late in the first quarter to seize a 26-19 lead. Green had seven of those, and Bradley four.

The Sixers cut the gap to 41-40 in the second quarter, only to see the Celtics score eight of the next 10 points, including two 3-pointers by Pierce.

Boston’s cushion was 53-46 at halftime, at which point Bradley had 14 points, Garnett 12 and Pierce 10, and grew to 79-66 late in the third quarter.

The Sixers reeled off eight straight points to end that period, four of those by Holiday, but the Celtics began the fourth quarter with a 12-2 flurry. Reserve guard Jordan Crawford nailed two 3-pointers and scored eight points in that run.

Spencer Hawes had 14 points for the Sixers, who shot just 5 for 21 from 3-point range. Royal Ivey, Arnett Moultrie and Dorell Wright had 10 points apiece.

NOTES: Sixers center Andrew Bynum, who has yet to play this season because of bone bruises to both knees, visited his personal physician, Dr. David Altchek, and was not present for the game. While it is possible Bynum will miss the rest of the season, no decision has been made yet. … Celtics coach Doc Rivers compared Bynum’s situation to that which Rivers faced while coaching Orlando in 2000-01, and Grant Hill was limited to four games by an ankle injury. “You just felt like you were always caught in limbo,” Rivers said. “I think with Doug (Collins, the Sixers’ coach) it could be tough at times, because at least with Grant we were small, we were athletic. We were going to stay the same style (when he returned). With Andrew you’re going to change some of the way you play when he comes back. That’s just hard.” … Collins has vowed to give rookie Moultrie more action, and indeed Moultrie was the first guy off the Sixers’ bench.

NBA NOTEBOOK: Blake Griffin expected Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka to be suspended and fined for striking him below the belt in Sunday’s game at Staples Center.

Ibaka was called for a flagrant 1 foul on the play late in the fourth quarter of the Thunder’s 108-104 victory.

The NBA announced Tuesday that Ibaka’s foul was upgraded to a flagrant 2 and he was fined $25,000 for striking Griffin in the groin area, but Ibaka was not suspended.

Before the ruling was handed down, Griffin said he didn’t “see how it could be let go” by the league with only a fine.

“I’m not going to cry,” Griffin said after practice Tuesday. “I’m not going to complain.”

Griffin also had some thoughts to relay to Oklahoma City center Kendrick Perkins, who suggested the Clippers forward was equally at fault on the play involving Ibaka.

After the game, Perkins told reporters he didn’t think it was a flagrant foul, that Griffin took Ibaka’s arm and “knocked him down” and that Griffin is known for “flopping anyway.” Perkins also thought the play should have been called as “a double foul”

“I saw some of Kendrick’s comments and they didn’t make sense to me,” Griffin said. “I think what he was trying to say was that I was grabbing his (Ibaka’s) jersey so I started it all and I deserved to be hit where I was hit. But if I started swinging every time I got my jersey tugged at, I’d probably be swinging on very single play.”

On Monday, Kobe Bryant told reporters that he probably would have “smacked (Ibaka) in the mouth” if the Thunder forward had hit him below the belt.

Griffin said, “I probably couldn’t have” responded because he had crumbled to the court after the foul.

“It’s not really my job to start running around and punching people and hitting people, because that really doesn’t solve anything,” Griffin said. “It really just gets myself in trouble and I don’t want that.

“I understand what Kobe is saying. You can’t really tolerate that. But especially at that point and time, I didn’t need to get into a scuffle with the game being on the line and us trying to claw our way back in it.”

The Thunder and Clippers don’t play again in the regular season, but they could meet in the playoffs.


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