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Celtics-Sixers Game Blog: First Quarter

12.23.08 at 5:28 pm ET
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We are live from the Garden where the word for tonight is “distractions.” Several of the Celtics were late arriving to the building, although they are all present and accounted for. Immediately after tonight’s game the team will head to the airport for a cross-country flight for a Christmas Day game with the Lakers you may be aware of.

Distractions? This team? “It’s tough,” Doc Rivers said. “Let’s be honest. That game has been built up since the season started.” Wow. A bit of candor from the coach.

But the Sixers had their own issues. Their bus from their downtown hotel took well over an hour to arrive and by 6:30 there were a sizable portion of ballers somewhere on the streets of Boston (Should have taken the MBTA, guys). But arrive they did.

So, what will it be tonight? Will it be 19 in a row? Will the Sixers continue their improved play under Tony DiLeo? Will people start booing Mark Teixeira, just because? Those answers and more tonight…

FIRST QUARTER WRAP: The Celtics took the Sixers best shot. At one point Philly was 7-for-11 from the floor, and the Sixers wound up shooting 58 percent in the quarter, but the C’s are still holding four, 29-25. Pierce, Garnett and Ray Allen combined for 23 points, while Andre Miller (10 points, four assists) and Iguodala (eight points) lead the Sixers.

Let’s see how the second unit does with a slim lead tonight. Over to you, Jess.

First Quarter Observations

— Big Baby is here tonight, by the way. He’s not playing but he is dispensing the pregame hugs. I asked him how he was doing and he said, “Good. I’m good.”

— The Sixers want to run, especially without Elton Brand in the lineup. The Celtics may not. On their first defensive board, Rajon Rondo walked the ball up the floor. Something else to watch: Sam Delambert is taking Kevin Garnett which means Thaddeus Young has Kendrick Perkins. Young is a toothpick next to Perk.

— All night long for Perkins.

— OK, whose bright idea was it to put Andre Iguodala at the 2-guard? Let’s take our best young player, pay him a pile of dough and make him learn a new position to accommodate a guy who is not as good as him.
I love Mo Cheeks as a human being, but that was not a particularly good decision as a coach.

— Huge call right there. It’s hard without the benefit of instant replay but my first instinct was no-call or or block on Paul Pierce. Instead that’s the second foul on Iggy, who looked like he was ready to go off tonight. Huge, huge break for the Celtics.

–Poor Thaddeus Young. He had no chance guarding Perk, and now he’s guarding Pierce. Is it being versatile if you can’t guard 3’s or 5’s?

— Poor, poor Thaddeus Young. You could see that four-point play coming about five seconds before it started. Whoops, I guess it was a two-pointer, not a three. The point still stands.

–DEEP THOUGHT: Any guesses on the attendance tonight in Atlanta for the Hawks and Thunder?

— Cheap foul on Rondo, his second, after Sixers coach Tony DiLeo got T’d up. That’s pretty much the definition of a makeup call isn’t it?

— The Sixers are getting wide-open looks with back cuts. That must have been their fifth wide open backdoor look in the first quarter. The Celtics defense has slipped a little in the last week or so. No complaints because their offense has been spectacular, but something to keep an eye on.

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