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Fast Break: Celtics momentum meets the road

03.07.12 at 9:18 pm ET
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Six times the Celtics have played the second game of a back-to-back on the road and six times they have lost spectacularly.

Dec. 28: At New Orleans: 97-78
Jan. 14: At Indiana 97-83
Feb. 10: At Toronto 86-74
Feb. 16: At Chicago 89-80
Feb. 20: At Dallas 89-73

You can add Wednesday night in Philadelphia as the Celtics were embarrassed, 103-71 in a so-called showdown against the division-leading 76ers. It was over almost as soon as it started. Then it got worse. The 71 points tied a season-low and the 32-point spread was the worst loss in The Big Three era.

WHAT WENT WRONG

About those back-to-backs: If you wanted to know why the Celtics struggle so match in back-to-backs, all you had to do was watch the first quarter when they constantly settled for jump shots and were killed on the offensive glass. They were outscored 20-4 in the paint at the start and that was just a prelude to ….

The second quarter blues: It’s not that hard to figure out. The Celtics’ offense goes from mediocre to awful whenever Rajon Rondo is out of the game. Their bench is one of the worst scoring outfits in the league. They needed something from Chris Wilcox and Mickael Pietrus. They got nothing.

Rondo, oh no: On the one hand, there wasn’t much that Rondo could do when the Celtics weren’t getting stops or rebounds and everyone else was moving in slow motion. On the other, this was a game when you’d like to see Rondo try to take it on his shoulders and jumpstart his team. Instead he took six shots in 28 minutes and was a minus-28.

Someone woke up Evan Turner: A story making the rounds in Philly on Wednesday is that the second-year Sixers guard had some kind of unidentified “issue,” that is holding him back. Whatever issues Turner may or may not have — and he and coach Doug Collins denied a problem before the game — he worked them out against the Celtics to the tune of 26 points in 36 minutes. He’s the kind of young, athletic player the Celtics would love to start adding to the roster.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Doc pulled a Popovich: For years, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich has treated back to backs as if they don’t exist. He’s been known to pull his starters en masse and rest them while his team takes their lumps. Doc Rivers has often resisted the ploy, preferring to have his team work through their issues on the court and try to build momentum. He called them off early on Wednesday, saving their legs for Friday night’s game in Portland.

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