Can the Sixers complete the rare home-and-home sweep of a divisional rival? Did Doug Collins have time to make the needed adjustments after seeing the Celtics smother his offense? Will tire legs be to the Sixers' advantage, or will the Celts figure out a way to better utilize their pick-and-pop game tonight on their home floor? Only one way to find out...
45 minutes for Pierce, 42 minutes for Rondo and 44 minutes for Jason Terry last night. 34 for Garnett, which is nothing to sneeze at. Both teams were dead tired at the end of overtime last night, but the short turnaround has to favor the Sixers. If they're able to make one adjustment, it has to be to either scrap or make an adjustment on their pick-and-rolls with Jrue handling the ball. Boston suffocated that play all night by doubling Jrue. If they're going to stick with it, two things I'd do. First, never send the guy Garnett is covering. Garnett's way too mobile. Second, learn the lesson you learned earlier in the season and send the screen way out past the three-point line, so the big is drawn way too far from the hoop and Jrue has room to maneuver with an advantage once he escapes.
I expect we'll see more of Turner handling tonight, probably earlier in the game, which works because Boston isn't attacking him the same way they were attacking Jrue. The key for the Sixers overall is going to be keeping their energy level up throughout. No lulls. No easy stretches for the Celtics. When the Boston bench comes in, you need to turn up the pressure and make it imperative for Rivers to go back to his starters on their normal rotation, rather than giving him the luxury of extending his bench minutes because they're doing OK out there.
Shoot better, especially from deep, and Boston won't be able to swarm the lane like they did last night. On the defensive end, they made a concerted effort to limit those easy possessions where Bass or Garnett can just set a pick and pop for an open 20-footer. Keep that up. Make Boston work for good looks like they had to last night.
A bounce-back game for Jrue and just average shooting from the shooters should be more than enough to sweep this back-to-back from the Celts and move to four-games over .500 again. Get it done.
The tip is at 7:30. This is your game thread. I'll be here throughout. Join me if you'd like to see some green blood spilled on the Garden floor.