BOSTON – The Celtics  were rolling with an 11-point lead before it happened.
Rasheed Wallace  got whistled for an offensive foul with just over six minutes left in the second quarter. He didn’t agree with the call. During a timeout less than a minute later he got slapped with a technical. And then another one. Wallace had to be restrained by assistant coach Tom Thibodeau  as he was tossed with 5:35 to go in the first half.
“That definitely helps because he can spread the floor,” Elton Brand said of the ejection. “He’s a good player for them and he was posting up and scoring, absolutely.”
Wallace had posted five points and three rebounds in nine minutes before he was ejected. The 76ers took advantage of his absence and tied the Celtics with 13 points in the remainder of the quarter. Big man Marreese Speights scored five points in the last 2:20 alone.
After having a 31-20 advantage on the boards in the first half, the Celtics were outrebounded 25-15 in the second. Without Wallace, the second unit combined for just four rebounds in the entire game before losing 98-97. (Recap here )
His absence played a role in the Celtics loss, but that doesn’t mean they are putting it all on him.
“Sheed’s a big part of our team,” said Kevin Garnett . “Not only does he give us length and a great voice out there on defense and offense, but he’s a presence in the post, a presence on the outside, and knows how to play and shares the ball. But that’s no excuse. I mean he didn’t have anything to do with our energy. That’s just a team thing and we’ll get it right.”
Added Brian Scalabrine , “This is the kind of game where we will all look at ourselves in the mirror and say we all should have done better. We’re not blaming anyone else on this one. We should have won this game tonight.”
The Celtics will practice on Saturday and host the Timberwolves  on Sunday evening.