PHILADELPHIA -- The Boston Celtics spent much of Tuesday night's game against the Philadelphia 76ers in a zone. So too did third-year guard Avery Bradley.
Bradley scored a season-high 22 points, and Boston (32-27) employed a 2-3 zone to cool off the hot-starting Sixers, 109-101, at Wells Fargo Arena.
Paul Pierce had 18 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists for the Celtics, who won their third consecutive game. Kevin Garnett also scored 18 points, as the Celtics shot 50.6 percent from the field, including 11 for 19 from 3-point range. They also overcame 22 turnovers.
Thaddeus Young had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Sixers (23-36), who lost for the ninth time in 10 games. Evan Turner chipped in 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and Jrue Holiday had 18 points and 10 assists.
Bradley, known more for his defense, began the night averaging 9.2 points on 41.7-percent shooting in 27 games, having missed the first 30 after having offseason surgery on both shoulders. But he sank 10 of 15 shots to eclipse his previous season high of 18, established Feb. 25 at Utah.
"I had it rolling," he said. "My teammates have confidence in me, and I have to have confidence in myself. If I have an open shot, I have to take it. That's how we play on this team, and it helps us when we do that."
Jeff Green added 16 points and Jordan Crawford 12 for the Celtics, who did not trail after reeling off 13 straight points late in the first quarter to seize a 26-19 lead. Green had seven of those, and Bradley four.
That surge came after Boston made the switch to zone, having seen the Sixers score on their first five possessions.
"We had no game plan to go zone that much," coach Doc Rivers said, "but what we do is, if the zone works and we score, then we stay in zone. If we miss, we got back to man. But we made a lot of shots, so it allowed us to stay in zone a lot."
Added Garnett: "Philly's not known for the deep ball. They do shoot 3s. They do have 3-point shooters, but I thought tonight going zone was effective for 48 minutes."
The Sixers shot 41 percent in the game, 36.5 percent in the second half. They also made just five of their 21 3-point attempts.
"The 3-point line was the difference tonight," coach Doug Collins said.
Collins further noted that the Celtics created fast-break opportunities out of their zone.
"They hurt us with that early," he said, "and then we did a better job with that."
Philadelphia did cut the gap to 41-40 in the second quarter, only to see the Celtics score eight of the next 10 points, including two 3-pointers by Pierce.
Boston's cushion was 53-46 at halftime, at which point Bradley had 14 points, Garnett 12 and Pierce 10, and grew to 79-66 late in the third quarter.
The Sixers reeled off eight straight points to end that period, four of those by Holiday, but the Celtics began the fourth quarter with a 12-2 flurry. Reserve guard Jordan Crawford nailed two 3-pointers and scored eight points in that run.
Spencer Hawes had 14 points for the Sixers, who made 5 for 21 from 3-point range. Royal Ivey, Arnett Moultrie and Dorell Wright had 10 points apiece.
NOTES: Pierce made all four of his 3-point attempts, while Bradley was 2 for 4 from the arc. .... Bradley also had seven rebounds and five assists. ... Sixers center Andrew Bynum, who has yet to play this season because of bone bruises to both knees, visited his personal physician, Dr. David Altchek, and was not present for the game. While it is possible Bynum will miss the rest of the season, no decision has been made yet. ... Rivers compared Bynum's situation to that which Rivers faced while coaching Orlando in 2000-01, and Grant Hill was limited to four games by an ankle injury. "You just felt like you were always caught in limbo," Rivers said. "I think with Doug, it could be tough at times, because at least with Grant we were small, we were athletic. We were going to stay the same style (when he returned). With Andrew you're going to change some of the way you play when he comes back. That's just hard."