The Boston Celtics reverted to familiar ways on Monday, making things interesting late in the game but unable to produce the necessary plays to keep their winning streak going while falling to the Philadelphia 76ers 113-108 at the Wells Fargo Center:
THE NITTY GRITTY
Rookie Kelly Olynyk scored a career-high 28 points, while Jeff Green (27 points) and Avery Bradley (23) joined him in the 20+ club. Rajon Rondo flirted with a triple-double while putting up 8 points, 14 assists and 11 rebounds over 42:25. Michael Carter-Williams scored 21 points, while Tony Wroten added 20 points to pace the 76ers. The Sixers shot 54.4 percent from the field while fending off Boston's second-half rally.
The Celtics led by 10 early, then fell behind by as much as 19 early in the second half. Boston surged within two heading to the fourth quarter, but could never get over the hump despite sticking close much of the final frame. The Celtics got a last gasp after a head-shaking turnover by the 76ers with 15.8 seconds to play. But in a microcosm of Boston's season, rookie Chris Johnson stepped on the sideline before launching what would have been a game-tying 3-pointer with 0.9 seconds remaining, The call was upheld on one of roughly 3,472 video reviews over the final two minutes of the game.
Even with just one game left in the season, Celtics fans held their breath when Rondo got hit with a stray elbow in the first quarter and dropped to the ground. He returned later in the frame. ... The Celtics were playing with nine available bodies as Jared Sullinger (ankle), Jerryd Bayless (knee) and Kris Humphries (knee) sat out. All three remain uncertain for the season finale. ... The Celtics turned the ball over 19 times, including three times in the final 88 seconds. ... Philly won the season series, 3-1.
WHAT IT MEANS
The Celtics (25-56) had a two-game winning streak snapped. Boston, at least for the moment, owns the fifth-worst record in basketball, but that hinges on the Lakers-Jazz game out west (a loss by the Lakers would force a three-way tie for the fourth-worst record). The Celtics wrap up the 2013-14 season on Wednesday night with a visit from the Washington Wizards.