BOSTON (AP) - Philadelphia coach Doug Collins warned his team about the Celtics' third-quarter prowess this season.
Perhaps that advisory should have been extended into the fourth quarter as well.
Leading for most of the game and by as many as 10 early in the fourth, the 76ers could no longer contain Kevin Garnett or Rajon Rondo, who ignited a 23-7 surge to start the final quarter, helping the Celtics steal Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals with a 92-91 victory Saturday night.
Game 2 is Monday in Boston.
"I think they're the top third-quarter team in the league this year and Coach really stressed that," Philadelphia forward Elton Brand said. "So, when we pushed that lead back up to 10, it was just a feeling like we had a chance there."
Rondo had other ideas.