Rapid Reaction: Sixers 107, Celtics 75

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Paul Pierce drives to the basket Monday night against the 76ers.Rapid reaction after the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Boston Celtics 107-75 during exhibition play Monday night at the Wells Fargo Center:


Playing without Kevin Garnett -- or any of his trademark intensity -- the Celtics slogged their way to their third preseason loss in four outings. Paul Pierce scored a team-high 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting, but also had four turnovers (as did Rajon Rondo) as Boston gave the ball away early and often. Brandon Bass chipped in 11 points and six rebounds off the bench (Jared Sullinger and Darko Milicic formed the starting frontcourt). For the Sixers, Spencer Hawes put up 17 points and eight rebounds in 17:36 off the pine, while the Youngs -- Thaddeus (15 points, 6 rebounds) and Nick (14 points) -- had solid nights.


The Celtics turned the ball over 14 times in the first half and those giveaways were enough to allow the 76ers to build a 14-point lead (56-42) at intermission. Without Garnett -- and playing with the fourth starting lineup iteration in as many preseason games -- the Celtics had no continuity at either end of the floor and it showed as Philadelphia dominated the second quarter while building the double-digit cushion (and sucking out any life that Boston had previously). The Celtics came out of halftime strong, cutting their deficit in half in 90 seconds, but turnovers returned later in the third quarter and Philadelphia was up 21 after three. Boston finished with 21 turnovers overall.


Rondo made his first 11 free throws of the preseason before missing his only two attempts in Monday's game ... Milicic, who has had his right wrist taped since tweaking it last week in a practice session, appeared to aggravate the injury falling to the floor early in the third quarter. After a timeout, he stayed in the game and actually produced a left-handed dunk on the first play out of the break. He finished with six points and three rebounds over 16:19... Philly native Dionte Christmas connected on 1-of-4 shots for two points over 13:28 in his homecoming.


Celtics coach Doc Rivers will have to dig deep to find any sort of redeeming quality to this one. Hey, at least no one got injured (Milicic's quick return bodes well for him). The good news: The Celtics are one game closer to the regular season and half the exhibition slate is behind them. The bad news: There's still plenty to clean up. Boston invades TD Garden for the first time this season on Tuesday night to host the Brooklyn Nets.