Boston Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo recorded a triple double and Paul Pierce chipped in 27 points, but it wasn’t enough as the Celtics fell to the Philadelphia 76ers in overtime, 95-94.
The 76ers won the first game of a home-and-home series that concludes tomorrow night in Boston.
Evan Turner had 26 points and 10 rebounds and hit the game winning shot with 3.9 seconds left in overtime. Thaddeus Young added 17 points and 12 rebounds for Philadelphia who improved their record to 11-8.
Boston coach Doc Rivers proved to be prophetic, warning his players before the game, “Don’t turn the ball over, get back in transition” as turnovers would prove to be the ultimate downfall of the Celtics giving away 18, including 5 by Rondo.
The loss drops Boston to 10-9 on the season, good for fourth place, one game behind Philadelphia.
Jeff Green added 19 points in a terrific effort off the bench for Boston, while Jrue Holiday chipped in 15 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists for Philadelphia.
A Green 3-pointer put Boston out front 94-93 with 1:54 and that’s where things stood when Courtney Lee pulled up for a corner 3-pointer with 25 seconds to play and a chance to deliver the knockout blow. The shot airballed and, making matters worse for Lee, Turner knocked down a pull-up 13-footer over him with 3.9 seconds to go at the other end.
Rondo, who posted 16 points, 14 assists and 13 rebounds, airballed a 16-footer at the buzzer with a chance to win it.
Rondo started off strong with a spectacular 10-point, 8-rebound, 5-assist first quarter while accounting for eight of Boston’s first 12 points. By halftime, Rondo was up to 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 8 assists over a mere 18 minutes but came up short in the overtime thriller.
The Celtics missed multiple shots under the rim and on second attempts to go with their 18 turnovers in a sloppy effort. To add injury to insult, Rondo slipped and tweaked his ankle as he attempted to rise for a last second shot but left the game under his own power.
The two teams meet up again on Saturday night at the TD Garden in Boston.
Michael J. Hamm, Jr. contributed to this article.