|Celtics-76ers Preview||11.24.09 at 10:28 pm ET|
At 7:30 p.m., the Celtics (10-4) will play host to the 76ers (5-9) in a collision of two teams that have been struggling of late – though Philly’s struggles suggest more far-reaching problems than do Boston’s. Despite the skewed skill levels, records and anything else that might separate a 10th-place Philly team from a playoff-bound Boston club, Friday night’s game carries a decent amount of intrigue – especially from the Boston perspective.
Of late, the Celtics have seemingly lost some of the swagger that they displayed during a 6-0 start. After dropping two straight to the Hawks and Pacers, Boston seemed to get back on track against Golden State in what was a pretty convincing win. But another slip-up against the Magic and an overtime buzzer-beating win against the 3-10 Knicks have made it appear that the Celtics are not in sync.
Center Kendrick Perkins attributed it to a lack of focus. But regardless of what’s been plaguing them, the Celtics need to improve – and what better team to straighten things out against then the 76ers? Read the rest of this entry »
|Sounds of the game… Celtics 110, 76ers 91||12.24.08 at 6:52 am ET|
The Celtics threw a Christmas party for family and friends in their locker room following their 110-91 win over the 76ers Tuesday night at TD Banknorth Garden. They certainly had plenty to celebrate. In addition to the festive time of season, the Celtics family and friends cheered the fact that they are now owners of the longest winning streak in team history at 19 games. They also raised a toast to the team’s 27-2 start, the best 29-game opening to a season in NBA history. Up next, an NBA Finals rematch with the Lakers in Los Angeles on Christmas Day. To get there, they took a red-eye cross-country flight but before that, they took time to reflct on the record and look ahead to what should be a classic game on Christmas at Staples Center.
And be sure to read and hear what Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala said about the Celtics, their streak, trash-talking and a certain reference to a perfect regular season in the NFL that didn’t end in a title.
|Sure they’re great but…||12.23.08 at 8:57 pm ET|
Call it sour grapes, call it frustration or just simple truth but Philadelphia 76ers star Andre Iguodala is of the belief that the Celtics talk too much on the court. Following Boston’s 110-91 beat down of the Sixers on Tuesday night for their new franchise-best 19th straight win and an NBA best-ever 27-2 start, the OTHER ‘AI’ had this to say about the Green and what they say on the court and if they Celtics are peaking too soon.
“I think teams would hope that but 27-2, you can’t knock that. It is what it is,” he began. “They’re playing good ball, no matter if they’re peaking or not. They just won the title and I’m sure they want to play to perfection and just try to keep it going the whole way. Similar to the Patriots, they were undefeated and they lost in the (Super Bowl). I’m sure they’re aware of that and want to keep it going the whole year.
“Everybody knows they won a championship and everybody knows they are a great team,” he continued. “They’ve got great players in Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, those guys go out there and play hard. But they try to go overboard with it sometimes. I think it takes away from actually how good a team they are, it takes away from the respect factor. Teams don’t respect them as much because of that.”
As for other teams in the NBA and whether they’re intimidated by the Celtics.
“I think they’re a good team but I don’t think they have that intimidation factor like the Detroit teams had those years when they were going to the Finals every year,” Iguodala said. “I think people respect them in as far as they’re a good team and they play great defensively but they have a lot of trash talkers out there so that kind of takes away from them sometimes.
“As a basketball group, they do a great job of executing and do a good job of sticking to their game plan.”
The two teams meet again on Feb. 3 in Philly.
|Preview: Celtics vs. 76ers||11.27.08 at 10:01 pm ET|
On Friday night the Boston Celtics (14-2) will take on the Philadelphia 76ers (7-8) at the TD BankNorth Garden. The 76ers were expected to challenge the Celtics in the Atlantic Division after acquiring Elton Brand this summer, but so far they have yet to pose a threat. The Celtics are riding a six-game winning streak while the 76ers have lost their last two.
In the last five games …
Over the last five games the Celtics have averaged the third most points in the NBA (108 ppg), the 76ers are posting the third least (90.4 ppg). The 76ers have the highest rebounding differential in the league (+6.33) for the season but the Celtics have outrebounded their opponents by nearly eight boards in the past five contests.
The match up to watch will be Kevin Garnett vs. Elton Brand. The big men have seen each other plenty of times in the Western Conference and now they are two of the best in the East. Brand gives the 76ers a legitimate option in the post, something they’ve been lacking of over the years, and they don’t have to rely as much on their running game.
“You know they’re going to play hard, you know they’re going to crash the boards,” Garnett said. “But having that range from the floor makes them [multi-dimensional]. They’re able to go pick-and-pop. Andre Miller can string out the defense a little bit and throw it back and Elton can hit all the way up to 19-feet jumpers.”
Celtics head coach Doc Rivers has made it clear on several occassions that Andre Miller is one of his favorite point guards in the league. Now many are saying the same about Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo.
“The problems we’ve had with Philly in the past, last year we struggled with them because of the Andre Miller problem,” Rivers said. “You know, at the point, with his size. I think Rondo’s better suited to handle that this year, and so he’s going to have to.”
Rondo’s fearless hustle has garnered praise from teammates and opponents alike. He enters Friday’s game on a hot streak after scoring 22 points against the Golden State Warriors. See how Rondo and Miller stacked up in the past five games:
Rajon Rondo: 29.2 minutes, 16.6 points, 6.2 assists, 5.2 rebounds, 55.7% FG
Andre Miller: 36.4 minutes, 12.0 points, 6.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds, 42.3% FG
Keep an Eye On …
The obvious scoring options on the 76ers are Brand and Andre Iguodala. This season, however, versatile forward Thaddeus Young is emerging in Philly. Young is quietly averaging 15 points and 5 rebounds, catching the attention of Garnett.
“A lot of people don’t really talk about him but Thaddeus Young, I think, is having an exceptional year,” Garnett said. “He’s hitting threes, he’s been able to come off picks … and he’s aggressive. Just some of the games that I’ve seen, when they win it’s because he’s playing really well.”
The Bottom Line
“I think they ran a lot more this year than last year,” said Paul Pierce. “They’re good in transition with Iguodala but I think now that they’ve added Brand to the dimension, they’re more built I think for the playoffs. They have early struggles, I think they’re a better team than their record has really shown as they get used to one another, but definitely they’re capable of scoring 100 points. But we’ve got our work cut out for us again defensively.”
Check in with the WEEI Celtics Game Day Blog for all the latest from the Celtics-76ers match up.