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Celts took 77 shots, Sixers missed 65

3/28/2004

BOSTON (AP) -- Philadelphia coach Chris Ford urged his players to
keep shooting, and they kept missing.

But by the time the 76ers hit the target consistently, they were
too far back and lost to the Boston Celtics 89-65 on Sunday night
while setting franchise records for offensive futility.

"Every timeout I just kept encouraging them, `the next one is
going to go," Ford said. "You can't be hesitant and not take the
open shots."

They had plenty of shots but missed 65. Boston took only 77.

"They looked a little tired," Boston coach John Carroll said.
"They missed some good shots early and I think it just kind of fed
into what was going on."

Playing for the fifth straight game without injured Allen
Iverson, the 76ers set club records for fewest points in a half
(23) and in three quarters (41). The 76ers sank nine of 19 shots in
the fourth quarter after hitting 15 of 70 before then. They
finished at 24-for-89, or 27 percent.

"When you fall so far behind you have to do things differently
to break it up," Aaron McKie said. "We didn't figure things out
until it was too late."

The Celtics, who moved a half game ahead of Cleveland into
eighth place in the Eastern Conference, were led by Mark Blount,
Ricky Davis and Jiri Welsch with 13 points each. For Philadelphia,
Kenny Thomas had 18 and Kyle Korver 15.

"We ,missed a lot of wide open shots," Korver said.
"Unfortunately, it had to happen tonight (with) as big a game as
this is."

The 76ers dropped 2{ games behind Boston in the race for the
final playoff spot.

For the second straight game, the Celtics faced a team without
two of its best players. They beat New Jersey on Friday night when
Jason Kidd and Kenyon Martin were sidelined.

The 76ers were 3-1 in their previous four games without Iverson.
And Glenn Robinson is on the injured list after right elbow
surgery. Together, they average 43 points per game as
Philadelphia's top two scorers, more points than the entire team
scored in the first three quarters when it trailed 60-41.

The 76ers' previous record for fewest points through three
quarters was 42 on Dec. 28, 2002, against Utah.

"Credit our defense. I thought we did a good job scrambling,"
said Paul Pierce who scored 11 points in just 27 minutes as Carroll
gave his starters extra rest. "We just caught them on a bad
night."

There have been several lately. The 76ers were held below 70
points for the third time in eight games and fifth time this
season.

The 65 points were the second fewest in club history with the
shot clock. The team record was set in a 66-57 loss against Miami
on Feb. 21, 1996. That's the same game in which the 76ers set their
previous record for fewest points in a half, 24.

They trailed 42-23 at intermission Sunday. The 23 points broke
Boston's record of 25 for the fewest allowed in a half.

The 76ers made just 10 of 45 shots in the first half, 22.2
percent, and sank only one of their first 17 in the third quarter.
That left the Celtics on top 54-31 before Philadelphia made its
next three shots, making the score 54-37.

"We set the tone from the start," Pierce said. "Once we came
into the third quarter and they didn't make a run at the start we
figured they were done."

The closest the 76ers came in the fourth quarter was 68-52 on
Korver's 3-pointer with 7:05 left.

The game was still close with Boston leading 16-14 after McKie's
layup with 4:07 left in the first quarter. But the 76ers went
scoreless for the next 6:36 until Thomas hit a short jumper that
made it 25-16 with 9:34 left in the half.

Philadelphia made just two field goals the rest of the quarter
and Boston went on a 17-5 run for its biggest lead of the half,
42-21 with 1:23 to go in the quarter.<
^Notes:@The 76ers also played without injured Derrick Coleman, Todd
MacCulloch and Marc Jackson. ... They had won their last three
games, all at home. ... Boston is 10-4 in its last 14 games.