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The Sixers showed a lot of backbone and heart tonight when they came back from a 15-0 start to tie the game up at 44 in the second quarter. Unfortunately, that's where the good news ends from this one. The Celts separated from the Sixers in the second half and walked out of town with a 100-86 win.

I'd like to say the Sixers played well enough to leave some doubt in the Celts' minds if they meet up in the playoffs, and for a few stretches they did, but overall they just looked bad out there. I didn't know it was possible for a team to shoot 31% from the floor for an entire game, but the Sixers did just that tonight. They also shot 11.8% from three and 68.6% from the line. Only taking care of the ball (7 turnovers) and crashing the boards (24 offensive rebounds) kept this game out of the laugher category.

I think Mo made a tactical error from the get go, and he never corrected it. Reggie Evans was given the start because the Celts have talent at the PF position in Kevin Garnett and size at the C position in Kendrick Perkins. He rotated Dalembert and Evans, switching up the looks for Garnett, but neither player slowed him down at all. It was clear early on that the Sixers wouldn't be able to defend with that alignment, and blatantly obvious that they wouldn't be able to score with it. When Thad finally got into the game, the Sixers went on a tear. He was all over the floor, and dropped 8 points in no time, fueling the comeback. When Doc Rivers went back to his big front court, Perkins and Garnett, Mo countered with Evans. The offense sputtered, the game slipped away, and there was nothing to be done about it by the time Thad got back into the game.

I don't know if the objective was to shield Thad from probably the toughest assignment he's going to see at PF, but it was a stupid plan. Thad could've done just as well on Garnett as Evans did, once it was clear that Evans wasn't going to get the job done on either end of the floor, Mo should've gone to the rookie. Mo is going to have to learn this lesson fast, because on Wednesday night the Sixers play the Pistons, who will play Rasheed Wallace at PF and a bigger body (McDyess, Maxiell or Ratliff) at center. Thad needs to start, and he needs to play 30+ minutes, not 23 like he did tonight.

I never thought I'd be saying this, but the Sixers need Willie Green to recover quickly from the back spasms that took him out of the game early tonight. Like it or not, when the half-court offense is struggling, he can get his shot and hit it pretty frequently. They're going to need that against Detroit.

Player of The Game: Jason Smith, 4/7 from the floor with 3 blocks.
Team Record: 30-34
Playoff Race: The Nets and Hawks both lost, so the Sixers lead stays at 4 and 3.5 over them, respectively. The Wizards had the night off, so the Sixers drop to 1 game out of the 6 spot.
by Brian on Mar 10 2008
Tags: Basketball | Celtics | Jason Smith | Sixers |