PHILADELPHIA – Elton Brand played a big part in the Philadelphia 76ers’ win over the best team in the East.

He loved the crowd going wild from start to finish.

The scene looked and sounded like a playoff game, a spectacle the Sixers expect to repeat.

“We definitely feel like we’re growing into one of the better teams in the East,” Brand said.

Brand scored 14 points and Spencer Hawes had 14 points and 10 rebounds to help the Sixers beat the Boston Celtics 89-86 on Friday night.

The Sixers led by 10 points and controlled the Eastern Conference-leading Celtics for most of the fourth quarter.

“Perfect, perfect basketball for us to get this game tonight against that caliber of a team,” Sixers coach Doug Collins said.

The Celtics missed eight straight shots over a six-minute span late in the fourth to lose their eighth conference game of the season.

Lou Williams’ jumper just a shade over the five-minute mark put the Sixers ahead 83-81 and they never trailed again. Jodie Meeks made two free throws after he was fouled by Paul Pierce on a fast-break attempt and the Sixers came away with one of their biggest wins of the season.

Nenad Krstic had 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Celtics.

Andre Iguodala had 13 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Sixers.

The Celtics took their final lead on Ray Allen’s 3-pointer with 6:27 left in the fourth to make it 81-79. That was it from the floor until Kevin Garnett’s basket in the final seconds.

It was an off night for the Big Three: Garnett scored 14 points, Pierce had 11 and Allen five. Jeff Green led Boston with 18 points.

Pierce’s jumper late in the third capped a 13-3 run and tied the game at 66. It was a rare burst of hot shooting for the Celtics as Pierce, Garnett and Allen were a combined 11 of 31.

Allen was amused that another team was feeling good about knocking off the Celtics.

“It’s interesting that teams use us as a measuring stick,” Allen said. “I think that we bring that out of a lot of teams, a lot of players.”

The Sixers left the court to a rousing ovation — their 31-18 record after a 3-13 start has made fans take notice. The sellout crowd, with several pockets colored Celtics green, was standing from the start for this potential first-round playoff series preview.

“If they keep playing like they’re playing, and we’re playing like we’re playing, it won’t be the first round,” Brand said. “Maybe the next one.”

The Sixers play the next five games on the road, a pivotal stretch for the improving team.

Celtics Coach Doc Rivers said he’d take special note of this one because of the postseason implications.

“I don’t know if you put more into the game, but you take more out of the game,” he said.