Archive for May, 2012

Sixers TV analyst Marc Jackson on D&C: Celtics made ‘terrible mistake’ by not winning Game 6

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Sixers TV analyst Marc Jackson joined the Dennis & Callahan show on Friday morning to talk about the Game 7 matchup between the 76ers and Celtics coming up on Saturday. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Jackson said Kevin Garnett needs to make a change in his game for the Celtics to emerge victorious.

“For Boston to win this game, KG has to get back on that block,” Jackson said. “Not necessarily settling for pick and pops or jump shots. But if you noticed the games that Philadelphia struggled with Boston were when KG imposed his will on the lower block. KG may be older in age, but he still has incredible skill on that block and he’s one of the best at seeing out of double teams. Even though Lavoy Allen has played tremendous defense on KG, KG has to go back to the old KG and put him in the grinder and get it done.”

Jackson said Philadelphia will be up to the challenge of a Game 7 in Boston.

“Yes, Philadelphia towards the end of the year was winning more games on the road then in their own arena,” Jackson said. “They are young so they don’t really know what’s at stake here almost to a fault. But even if they are playing in Boston or playing in Philadelphia, it’s all the same to them. I think Boston has made a terrible mistake by not trying to finish the Sixers off early, because the longer you let the young guys stay around the more confident they get. And I know the 76ers are extremely confident that they can go into this game and win against the Boston Celtics in their own court.”

Asked who he thought was going to be the one guy to step up for the Sixers, Jackson responded with Andre Iguodala.

“I’m going to say Andre Iguodala because of his defense, his swarming defense and the way he’s played defense on Paul Pierce, and before Paul it was Luol Deng,” Jackson said. “I know Paul made the comment earlier in the series that it’s not because Andre’s shutting him down but because the Sixers are playing great team defense. Paul, I love you to death, but I don’t want to hear that. Andre Iguodala has played great defense on you.”

Turning his attention to the bench, Jackson said coach Doug Collins deserves a majority of the credit for the eighth-seeded Sixers’ success.

“He imposed his philosophy on defense first, sharing the ball, commitment to doing the right thing at all times … and that team has taken that philosophy and ran with it,” Jackson said. “If you hear everyone speak about Philadelphia, the first thing they say is that they like each other. Now, for people from the outside world who have never played professional sports, that’s a major key, because a lot of teams, believe or not, do not like each other. … The 76ers have no [bitterness].”

Irish Coffee: How this Celtics team fares in Game 7′s

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

The last and only time Mickael Pietrus played in a Game 7, he played for the Magic and scored 17 points on 6-of-7 shooting (3-3 3P) in a 101-82 blowout of the Celtics in the Garden to win the 2009 Eastern Conference semifinals. (Our own Paul Flannery reminds us of the similarities between that series and this one.)

Keyon Dooling hasn’t played in a Game 7 since 2005, when he scored six points on 3-of-6 shooting coming off the bench for the Heat in an 88-82 loss to the Pistons during the Eastern Conference finals. Greg Stiemsma, Ryan Hollins and even Brandon Bass have never played a Game 7, not that it matters much.

How the Celtics fare in Game 7 of this Eastern Conference semifinals against the 76ers depends on how well the Big Four perform. Pietrus should start for Ray Allen, but Doc Rivers probably puts this game in the hands of Allen, Rajon Rondo, Kevin Ganett and Paul Pierce. And who could blame him? After five seasons, 85 playoff games and 50 postseason victories together, they’ve gotten him this far.

Between them, Allen, Rondo, Garnett and Pierce have played 12 playoff games with the series up for grabs, including five as a unit since the 2008 NBA title run (Garnett’s 2009 knee injury cost him two of those). They’re 3-4 as individuals, and 3-2 together — the 2010 NBA finals Game 7 loss to the Lakers freshest in all their minds.

Perhaps how those four have fared in those previous 12 win-or-go-home playoff contests (Garnett, Allen and Pierce each played a Game 5 before the NBA abolished five-game, first-round series in 2003) will offer a glimpse of what to expect in their 13th and perhaps final Game 7 together, on Saturday night against the Sixers in Boston.

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Kevin Garnett on Game 7: ‘We’ve been here before’

Thursday, May 24th, 2012


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PHILADELPHIA — Kevin Garnett spoke about Philadelphia’s fans after a Game 5 win in Boston. On Wednesday, following an 82-75 loss to the Sixers in Game 6, Garnett made another proclamation of sorts for Game 7 Saturday in Boston.

“Win or go home,” Garnett said when asked about the team’s mindset heading into a do-or-die Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. “Confidence is very high. We’ve been here before, very experienced. All out, nothing less.”

Indeed, the Celtics have played in five Game 7s in the Big Three era of Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. They are 3-2 in those previous five, beating Atlanta and Cleveland on their way to the title in 2008. They beat the Bulls in seven in the first round in 2009 before losing the next round to the Magic in Game 7 at the Garden. With a chance at an 18th banner in 2010, they lost Game 7 of the NBA finals in Los Angeles to the Lakers.

“Game 7s are what they are,” coach Doc Rivers said. “It’€™s nice we have it at home, but you have to go get it still. At the end of the day, you have to go play. You can’€™t just rely on that we’€™re at home. I do like that we have an extra day. I think that helps us a little bit.”

“It’s only a couple of us that have been in Game 7s, so we’re not going to go on the history,” Rajon Rondo added. “This is a new series, a new group of guys that are going head to head and it’s been back and forth the entire series so it’s going to be a tough one at home.”

Neither team has managed consecutive victories in the series as the Celtics and Sixers have alternated wins in the first six games. If the trend continues, the Celtics will advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the third time in five years.

The Celtics will play the Sixers on Saturday at TD Garden. If the Pacers force a seventh game against the Heat with a Game 6 win Thursday, the Celtics and Sixers tip off at 5 p.m. on Saturday. If Miami advances on Thursday, then the Celtics tip off at 8 p.m. Saturday.

Fast Break: Listless C’s can’t find touch, 76ers force Game 7

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012


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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.

Doc Rivers on Avery Bradley going forward: ‘We really don’t know’

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012


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PHILADELPHIA — As expected, the Celtics will not have Avery Bradley available as they try to close out the Sixers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. Bradley did not take part in the shootaround Wednesday morning and could not get himself to the point of being ready for the game in warmups. Bradley missed Game 5 Monday with a left shoulder injury that was re-aggravated in the third quarter of Game 4 Friday night in Philadelphia.

“We keep saying day-to-day but we really don’t know,” coach Doc Rivers said an hour before Game 6.

Ray Allen, meanwhile, will play but Rivers said he is clearly limited by his right ankle sprain, that he reaggravated on Monday night in the Game 5 win.

Rivers also said Greg Stiemsma is ready to go off the bench despite two sore feet.

Celtics-Sixers Game 6 Live Blog

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

Celtics-Sixers Game 6 Live Blog

Celtics could use some close out power against Sixers in Game 6

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012


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PHILADELPHIA — If there were ever a team that needed to close out a series, the Celtics are it.

They will almost certainly be without Avery Bradley (left shoulder). Ray Allen is hurting bad but will give it a go. And Greg Stiemsma has two balky feet.

The Celtics lead the Sixers, 3-2, in the best-of-seven series and need just one more win to advance to the Eastern Conference finals for the third time in five years. The previous two times (2008, ’10) have ended with Celtics reaching the NBA finals.

But it won’t be easy if history is any indication. In the “Big 3″ era of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Allen, they are just 2-10 in potential closeout games on the road. They won the Eastern Conference finals in Detroit in Game 6 in 2008. They swept away the Knicks in the first round last year. So, well before Garnett’s comments about the Philly fans, tonight was going to be a monstrous task.

On the injury front, Bradley said at Wednesday morning’s team shootaround that he has felt little improvement in his ailing left shoulder and he will almost surely miss his second straight game of the series as Boston attempts to close out Philadelphia in Game 6 here at Wells Fargo Center.

“Right now, I’m not playing,” Bradley said, as he received treatment from strength trainer Bryan Doo. “I’m definitely frustrated but all I can do is keep getting stronger and keep improving for my team. I’m just trying to get it better. It’s been the same. I just have to keep trying to get is stronger everyday. I just want to make sure I’m 100 percent for my time. I’m just taking it day-by-day right now.”

“He’s a little better, not much,” coach Doc Rivers added. “I don’t think he’ll play. He won’t do anything in shootaround for sure, and then do what we did the other night. We’ll let him warm up and see if he can warm up and then go from there.”

Bradley had the shoulder pop out early in the third quarter of Game 4 last Friday night and missed Game 5 with the injury. Allen started in his place in Game 5 and will start again for Bradley in Game 6 should Bradley — as expected — miss Game 6. There is some uncertainty regarding Allen and his ailing right ankle.

“It is what it is,” Rivers said of Allen. “He’s a go right now. Obviously, if he can’t go, we’ll have to go somewhere else.”

Stiemsma also reaggravated his foot injury in the second half of the Game 5 win Monday. He was at shootaround Wednesday and is expected to be available off the bench.

“He’s good,” Rivers said. “The foot was aggravated again [Monday]. He says he feels much better today. He’ll definitely play. He’s the definite of the three guys.”