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Jrue Holiday scored 18 points and Andre Igoudala added 13 as the Philadelphia 76ers edged the Boston Celtics 82-81 at TD Gardens evening their best of 7 Eastern Conference semifinals at one game apiece. Holiday made 7/15 (47%) overall including 4/6 (67%) from 3 point range while Igoudala grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out a team high 7 assists. Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen each contributed 10 for Philly, who shot 41% overall and converted 15/21 (71%) from the free throw line. The 76ers also won the battle of the boards 47-36 despite committing as many turnovers (17) as recording team assists. Ray Allen led Boston with 17 off the bench while Kevin Garnett added 15 along with 12 rebounds. Brandon Bass contributed 12 but shot just 5/15 (33%) from the floor overall. Boston shot 42% from the field and drained 8/18 (44%) from beyond the arc. Rajon Rondo was held to just 8 points but dished out 13 of his team's 23 assists along with collecting 7 rebounds. Boston attempted just 9 free throws overall making 7 (78%) and committed 18 turnovers. Fans grew restless as the second half opened with sloppy, choppy play by both teams. Boston led 38-36 at halftime and nearly seven minutes into the third quarter, the score was 43-41 with the Celtics still ahead. When the shots finally started falling, they were all for Philadelphia. The Sixers scored 14 consecutive points, turning a 47-43 deficit into a 57-47 lead in the final minute of the period. Boston went without a point for 4:40, finally scoring when Pierce made two free throws with 2.4 seconds left in the period. Every time the Celtics appeared to have regained the momentum, the Sixers came up with an answer. After trailing by eight points entering the fourth quarter, Boston's Kevin Garnett tied it at 65-all on a turnaround jumper with 4:33 to play. The Celtics had the Sixers on the verge of a turnover when Paul Pierce blocked Lou Williams and the ball went out of bounds with only 0.9 seconds left on the shot clock. No problem. Lavoy Allen got the inbounds pass and banked in a shot from 22 feet and the Sixers were back in the lead. Turner's layup gave the Sixers a 76-75 lead and Philadelphia clinched it by going 6 for 6 from the free throw line over the final 12 seconds. Game 3 is Wednesday night at the Wachovia Center.
Russell Westbrook scored 27 points and Kevin Durant added 25 as the Oklahoma City Thunder leveled the LA Lakers 119-90 at the Cheasapeake Energy Arena taking the opening game of the Western Conference semifinals. Westbrook played just 27 minutes due to the score disparity and knocked down 10/15 (67%) overall while making all 6 of his free throw attempts. He also grabbed 7 rebounds and dished out a team high 9 assists. Durant played just 29 minues and shot 8/16 (50%) collecting 8 rebounds and handing out 4 assists. James Harden contributed 17 off the bench in a game tightly scrutinized given the events that unfolded last month when Metta World Peace violently elbowed Harden following a layup after a double OT win for the Lakers at the Staples Center between these two teams. The Thunder shot 53% from the floor and converted 24/29 (83%) from the charity stripe committing a playoff low 4 turnovers while recording 13 steals. Andrew Bynum and Kobe Bryant each led the Lakers with 20 points while World Peace added 12 and Pau Gasol contributed 10. Bynum pulled down 14 rebounds for LA, who outboarded OKC 43-41 but committed 16 turnovers. Kobe shot just 7/18 overall (39%) and fell victim of the double team and a lack of minutes especially during the 4th quarter with the game well in hand. LA shot 43% overall and went to the line just 15 times converting 13 (87%) while recording only 14 team assists. The Thunder took a 15-point halftime lead, opened the third quarter with a 15-2 blitz filled with crowd-pleasing 3-pointers and dunks and never looked back. Two games after trailing by as many as 28 points in a blowout loss in Game 6 in Denver, it got even worse as the Lakers were down by as many as 35. They responded to their last loss by beating the Nuggets 96-87 in a thrilling Game 7 on Saturday night. A sold-out crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena wasn't nearly as happy to see him back, although World Peace -- who changed his name from Ron Artest -- was hardly fazed by the chorus of boos that greeted him during pregame introductions or again whenever the ball came his way. The Lakers will need another big bounce back for Game 2 in Oklahoma City on Wednesday night.