Fast Break: Listless C’s can’t find touch, 76ers force Game 7
|05.23.12 at 10:48 pm ET|
The Sixers and Celtics will need a seventh game to determine which team will earn the right to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals after the C’s fell to Philly in Game 6, 82-75. The Celtics seemed out of sorts the whole game and shot just 33.3 percent from the field. Jrue Holiday continued to be a thorn in Boston’s side, scoring 18 points (7-of-15 shooting) for the Sixers. Paul Pierce scored 24 points in defeat.
WHAT WENT WRONG
Missed Opportunity: The C’s actually won the rebounding battle, 48-37, and even doubled up Philly on the offensive glass, 14-7. However, every other facet of the game seemed to go the 76ers way as the game progressed. Boston will look back at this game with regret, not because it lost, but because the way it lost. The C’s shooting percentage floated around 30 percent for the majority of the night and their 16 turnovers were debilitating. In a weird way, the Game 6 loss was almost as damning as the Celtics’ Game 4 loss when they blew an 18-point second half lead. At least in Game 4 the C’s played one good half; Game 5′s performance was brutal for a full 48 minutes.
Gamma Rays: Ray Allen only took one shot in Game 3. He was just 2-of-6 in Game 4. And Monday night he finished 2-of-7 in Game 5. Obviously, his ankle’s stability and amount of pain he is experiencing fluctuates on a day-to-day basis. It appeared Wednesday night he was laboring. His two early fouls in the first quarter didn’t help, but there was one play where Allen visibly struggled while trying to get separation from Jodie Meeks. Allen was 2-0f-8 going into the fourth quarter, playing just 17 minutes. With Avery Bradley‘s status questionable for the rest of the playoffs, Doc Rivers is undoubtedly hoping Allen’s health and play improves.
Held at bay: After Game 5, Allen said this was a “Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass series” because Philly’s defense was predicated on stopping Pierce and himself on the perimeter. Bass had six first quarter points which sounds nice, until you realize it was on eight shot attempts. His shot selection was fine, but the same shots that fell for Bass in his 27-point Game 5 performance weren’t dropping at the Wells Fargo Center in Game 6. Kevin Garnett wasn’t much better. Sure, he finished with 20 points, but he took 20 shots to reach that output.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
Follow the leader: Pierce may have had four turnovers and an average night from the field, but The Truth did what he’s been doing the entire playoff run: Attacking the basket and helping rebound. Pierce grabbed 10 boards and went to the line early and often, finishing the game with 13 free throw attempts. An underrated part of this is that Pierce converted all his attempts. This is especially noteworthy when looking at Philly, who as a team took 28 free throws … but hit just 17 of those opportunities.
Hangin’ around: This is tough. On one hand, the Sixers were shooting 60% in the opening stages of the second quarter, yet the Celtics only trailed by three, 28-25, even though they were shooting just 31 percent. The C’s tightened up defensively and the 76ers went on a scoring drought from the 8:19 mark to the 3:02 mark of the quarter. In fact, Philly would only score six points in eight minutes of action through the second quarter, leading to a comeback from the Celtics.
After holding the 76ers to an eleven point quarter, Boston took a three-point lead into halftime, despite shooting only 37 percent. Now, this falls under “What Went Right” because the C’s ended up with the lead while on the road, but their 17-point second quarter didn’t exactly allot them any breathing room.