Boston Celtics cruise past Philadelphia 76ers in Game 3

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Boston's Paul Pierce throws down a dunk during the first half against Philadelphia. He had 24 points and 12 rebounds in the Celtics' victory.  MATT SLOCUM/ASSOCIATED PRESS
MATT SLOCUM/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Boston's Paul Pierce throws down a dunk during the first half against Philadelphia. He had 24 points and 12 rebounds in the Celtics' victory.

PHILADELPHIA — Kevin Garnett scored 27 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and used a dominant second quarter to help the Boston Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers 107-91 on Wednesday night and take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Whistled for a costly illegal pick late in a Game 2 loss, Garnett crushed the Sixers early and never let them think about a fourth-quarter rally.

Garnett scored 13 of Boston’s 32 points in the second quarter and the Celtics became the first team to win by double digits. Game 1 and Game 2 were each decided by one point.

Rajon Rondo had 23 points and 14 assists. Paul Pierce, playing with a banged-up knee, had 24 points and 12 rebounds.

Game 4 is Friday in Philadel­phia.

Former Georgia Tech standout Thaddeus Young scored 22 points and Jrue Holiday had 15 for the Sixers.

PACERS: Team president Larry Bird was voted the NBA’s Executive of the Year on Wednesday, becoming the first person to win that award, plus the MVP and coach of the year honors.

Bird received 88 points and 12 first-place votes from a panel of his fellow team executives. San Antonio’s R.C. Buford was second with 56 points and eight first-place votes.

BOBCATS: Two people familiar with the situation say the team will interview Orlando assistant Patrick Ewing today in Charlotte for its vacant head coaching position.

The people say Charlotte will interview Memphis assistant Dave Joerger on Friday. The people spoke to The Associated Press on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the team hasn’t publicly announced its list of candidates.


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