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Philadelphia at Boston

Venue: TD Garden
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All of the Boston Celtics' pieces are present. For coach Doc Rivers, it's just a matter of fitting them together.

In a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference semifinals, the revamped Celtics will try to again fine-tune their chemistry on Friday as they host the Philadelphia 76ers, a team relying on stingy defense without its marquee addition.

After starting the season with two losses, Boston (2-2) has won two straight. But both victories came over winless Washington and were not overly impressive.

The Celtics needed overtime for a 100-94 home victory over the Wizards on Wednesday after an 89-86 road win Saturday. But as Rivers tries to find a formula for a largely reshuffled roster, getting back to .500 was a relief.

"Well, we won the game," he said. "Right now that's the type of team we are. We're not playing great."

Boston's points per game (96.0) and points allowed (99.8) are both hovering in the league's lower-third as Rivers' new rotation gets acclimated with each other. Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, Leandro Barbosa and Jared Sullinger are all newcomers, and Jeff Green missed all of last season after having an aortic aneurysm detected and operated on.

Terry had mostly struggled in three games before going 7 of 15 for 16 points.

Meanwhile, the stalwarts - Rajon Rondo, Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce - are all operating at or near their normal levels of production. Rondo is picking up a larger share of the scoring duties with 16.0 points per game compared to a 10.9 career average. Pierce is trying to shake off a rough shooting start to the season - hitting 35.0 percent of his shots - but is averaging a team-best 19.0 points.

"We know we have guys that are capable," Pierce said after going 2 of 12 for 15 points Wednesday. "It's just getting it together still."

Finding their offensive rhythm could be tough against Philadelphia (2-2), which is playing sound defense and also gave the Celtics problems in last season's playoffs.

Boston eliminated the 76ers in seven games while averaging 89.1 points last May. Garnett averaged team highs of 19.7 points and 11.0 rebounds for the Celtics, who held Philadelphia to an average of 85.4 points.

Defense has been crucial for the Sixers this season, with the absence of the newly acquired Andrew Bynum (knee) limiting the team's offensive potential. Doug Collins' team has been up to the challenge, limiting opponents to an average of 86.8 points - 2.6 less than a year ago.

The Sixers forced more turnovers (24) than New Orleans had field goals (23) in a 77-62 road win Wednesday. The Hornets scored a franchise low, though they were without two of their better players in Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers.

"It wasn't a masterpiece but we'll take it," Collins said. "Our guys are growing, the way they talk with each other."

The 22-year-old Jrue Holiday is flourishing as he begins his first full season directing the offense, as Andre Iguodala - now with Denver - often assumed a point-forward role in years past. Holiday is playing five more minutes a game than he did last season and averaging nearly five more points at 18.0. He's also more than doubled his assist average, recording 9.5 a game.

"Coach (Collins) trusts me (to make the correct reads) and call the right plays," Holiday told the team's official website. "Him showing that confidence means a lot to me."

The Sixers have lost six of their last seven regular-season games in Boston.

Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
 
 
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Game Odds
AwayLineHomeLine
Philadelphia 6.5 Boston -6.5
Standings
TeamStandingsWLPct.GBL 10Strk
Philadelphia5th Atlantic 1963.232294-6Won 2
Boston4th Atlantic 2557.305232-8Lost 2

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Injuries
Philadelphia
PlayerInjury
M Carter-WilliamsShoulder
Boston
PlayerInjury
G WallaceKnee
 
Key Players
Andrew<br>Bynum
Andrew
Bynum
, C
0 Min. Per Game 36.0 Paul<br>Pierce
Paul
Pierce
, SF
0 Pts. Per Game 19.0
0.0 Ast. Per Game 3.0
0 Reb. Per Game 7.0
0 Field Goal % 35.0
0 Three Point % 42.1
0.0 Free Throw % 89.7
 
Team Rankings
TeamRankPoints
Philadelphia 76ers1968.80
Boston Celtics1371.68
 
Series Game Log
DateLocationResults
Oct 29Boston 
Dec 26Boston 
Jan 7 @ Brooklyn 
Mar 23 @ Brooklyn 
 
Other Games
Brook 107 Final
Orl 68
Mil 101 Final
Wash 91
Mia 95 Final
Atl 89
Dal 94 Final
NY 104
Char 99 Final
NO 107
Ind 94 Final
Min 96
Det 94 Final
OKC 105
Hou 85 Final
Mem 93
Cle 105 Final
Pho 107
SA 97 Final
Sac 86
Utah 84 Final
Den 104
GS 77 Final
LAL 101