The NBA Playoffs: Day 26: Sixers Extend the Series

Andre Iguodala puts the hammer down on Paul Pierce and
the Sixers force a Game 7 in Boston on Saturday
(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
 #WinOrGoHome #uglygame
This game was devoid of any offensive execution and it was lacking scoring punch. Both teams played excellent defense in the first half or both teams played lackluster offense. The score at half time was 36-33 for the Celtics. Then the Sixers made their run in the 3rd quarter as they "exploded" for 27 points to take a 60-56 lead into the last 12 minutes. The Celtics could not make any comebacks as they shot an abysmal 33% and had 16 turnovers. Meanwhile, the Sixers had Andre Iguodala connect on powerful dunks while Jrue Holiday finished off the Celtics with timely baskets. Holiday (20 pts, 6 assts) outplayed Rondo who had only 9 points and 6 assists plus 4 turnovers. Brandon Bass was unable to duplicate his Game 5 outburst as he managed only 8 points while Ray Allen has continued to struggle with just 9 points.

#Game7 #back&forth
There will be a Game 7 in Boston on Saturday which gives the Celtics two full days of rest. Three of their starters (Pierce, Rondo, Garnett) logged more than 41 minutes each and the extra rest should give the Celtics an advantage. Avery Bradley will probably not play which gives the Sixers an advantage since Ray Allen cannot cover the likes of Evan Turner or Lou Williams. No team has won consecutive games in this series. Each team has made adjustments after a loss and this stat favors the home team. The Celtics have a playoff history of going 17-4 at home during Game 7s. Their last playoff loss at home in Game 7 was versus the Magic in 2009 when Kevin Garnett did not play in the series due to injuries.

Allen Iverson came to support the Sixers and he proved
to be a good luck charm as the Sixers won Game 6.
(Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images) 

#BalancedScoring #statpack
The Celtics only got 5 points from their bench while the Sixers got 16 points. Not much scoring from the Sixers but their role players played more minutes which could  lead to more chances to play and score during Game 7. Coach Doc Rivers shortened his bench drastically with Pietrus getting the most minutes at 35 and Hollins at 11. No one else played significant time after that. The Sixers received balance scoring from their roster with 5 players scoring more than 10 points each. The Sixers had better ball movement as they finished with 22 assists to the Celtics who had just 14. Normally, the Celtics win this battle due to the superior passing and playmaking skills of Rondo but tonight was different. The Celtics were not hitting their shots so assists rarely came. The Celtics also shied away from the post and the paint as they managed only 16 points in the paint (42 for Sixers). Garnett, Bass and Pierce opted to shot long jumpers all game long and those shots were not falling in a consistent basis.

#predictions #gameplan
For the Sixers to win Game 7, they need to continue attacking in transition and be aggressive early. The Boston crowd will be wild, rowdy and noisy so the Sixers need to neutralize the crowd's energy at the start. The Sixers also need to pound the ball in the post and attack the interior defense of the Celtics. The Cs dont have the threat of a shot blocker and that should be exploited. They need to attack and initiate contact to force the referees to call fouls. If any of the starters need to sit due to foul trouble, the Celtics are in danger since they have shortened their rotation. For the Celtics to win, they need to utilize more pick and rolls/pops and less isolation plays. They also need to limit their turnovers because the Sixers are a decent transition team. Kevin Garnett needs to mix up his game and avoid settling for long jumpers. The Celtics will finish the Sixers on Saturday with Rondo having his triple-double.    

#Tweet/Quote of the Night
"Game 7, that's all we wanted was to win tonight and give ourselves a chance to go into Boston and see what happens on Saturday" -Doug Collins, Sixers coach. 

#News #Stats

  • Haslem was suspended for 1 game and Pittman got 3 games
  • Hansbrough received a flagrant-2 foul upgrade but no suspension
  • Celtics are 2-13 on closeout games on the road since 2008
  • Ray Allen is 7-27 from three-point range in this series
  • Allen Iverson came out wearing #23 of Lou Williams
  • Defensive 1st Team: LeBron James,  Dwight Howard, Serge Ibaka, Tony Allen, Chris Paul
  • Defensive 2nd Team: Garnett, Bryant, Rondo, Chandler, Deng

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