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Sixers Put Foot Down, Force Game Seven

*so* glad we get at least one more game of these threads, Brian's previews and recaps, bitching at each other about actual games instead of salary cap stuff...has it really only been six months since this season started?

(and notice they somehow won that game with zero minutes from IVERSON too!)

Rafafele on May 24 at 3:15

You're right, Brian, their defense was reletless all night long and put them in position to win. Jrue did the rest particularly in the 4th quarter.

We shoould be very proud of this team, I think. They're young, they are inexpirienced, they were the underdogs in both series, they don't have any superstar (yet) and here they are: ready to play Game 7 against former NBA champions.

I wonder how and if this surprising playoffs run (at least 13 games) will change anything in the team's future.

If we talk about evolution (meaning the plan is to stick with the core of this team for the years to come), I'd be inclined to say that it will make a ton of difference. The young guys faced elimination games, withstood a level of pressure they did not experienced before, won close games and lost a few. They hit clutch free throws down the strech (Jure did last nght, Turner, Lou, Meeks did in other games).

That is going to change them for the better and accelerate their evolution as players. Plus, if the Sixers will ever be able to add and impact player any time soon, this player won't have to change the team upside down. He will simply be part of a nucleus that already showed it has the right mentality, commitment and work ethics to win at the highest level when it counts.

I wonder also if this (ongoing) playoffs run will make Philadeplhia a more coveted destination for superstars (whatever the term means) looking for a new home.

In the meantime, can't wait for game 7.

i was there tonight and the arena was so crazy! everyone was into it from the moment iverson stepped on the floor until there were no more people left in the stadium. what a game.

the sixers also played extremely motivated tonight, at least on the defensive end. i could tell there was no way they were gonna let the season end in front of their home crowd. cant wait for game 7!! they need to play rondo exactly the same as they did tonight because he couldnt do shit all game

johnrosz on May 24 at 3:47

These guys have way too much respect for KG's defensive prowess IMO, and the C's interior D in general. Couple of times tonight the sea parted in a big big way, KG didn't seem like he altered very man drives in the lane, in fact seemed a step (or 2) slow in his attempts. Keep attacking Skeletor in game 7, if you lose a game attacking the rim in a game 7 in Boston I'll live with it.

Only guy who seems like he regularly alters shots is Steamer, and he's all kinds of banged up.

Attack, attack, attack, make them blow the whistle

Stan reply to johnrosz on May 24 at 12:45

How do you explain all of Turner's missed shots? He's missed 31 (17, 8, 6) shots in the past 3 games and it's not like he's jacking up 20 footers.

johnrosz reply to Stan on May 24 at 16:12

he is jacking up plenty of outside shots, which is hard to watch. I'm not the most avid Turner defender anymore, but I won't go as far as to just say he sucks. He's just missing shots inside that I think he can/should make. Last night KG didn't have a prayer when Jrue or Lou came at him.

spencer for hire on May 24 at 7:41

Watching the human turnstile [Rondo] tonight reminded me of watching Iverson "D" it up in years past. How did these guys win it all with good defense when "the head of the snake" is venomless on that end.

Great writeup Brian, and Jrue is learning how to do what is needed out there. If or when they add more scoring and as he matures it will be fun to watch him assert himself according to what the team needs from him.

Hopefully the 2 days off help Elton shine in game 7. If Spencer can hit a few more jumpers and move his ass defensively who knows what can happen.

Watching the human turnstile [Rondo] tonight reminded me of watching Iverson "D" it up in years past. How did these guys win it all with good defense when "the head of the snake" is venomless on that end.

That's really interesting, because Rondo has such a good defensive reputation (4 years running on the All-Defensive team). But watching closely this series, he's really not the best on-ball defender, unless he steals it (which he often does). Garnett certainly covers a lot of his mistakes.

I'll be watching to see how much the Sixers go at Rondo and Ray Allen early in Game 7.

Stan reply to Statman on May 24 at 12:38

I was wondering the same thing yesterday. I've always considered Rondo to be a good defender because of his reputation, but it seemed like the Sixers put the ball in the hands of the guy who was being defended by Rondo.

"The Sixers can penetrate whenever they want to. At all times, they have an exploitable mismatch on the perimeter."

i think this is really only true when Bradley is not in the game

Bradley can only guard one guy at a time. They have two or three guys who can penetrate on the floor at all times.

Stan reply to Brian on May 24 at 10:56


Rondo was on the NBA All-Defensive 2nd team.

Made me laugh, whether it was sarcastic or not.

This playoff run by the Sixers is a prime example of defense winning in the playoffs. Seriously, they have looked like crap on the other side of the ball and are one win away from reaching the ECF. It doesn't have to be pretty. I hope the front office understands this and uses this knowledge when making moves in the offseason.

It helps to have someone who you know can get you a bucket when you need one. I hope the front office understands this and uses this knowledge when making moves in the offseason.

According to the Boston media and blogs, Avery Bradley is going to be out for the rest of the season - even should the Celtics make it past Game 7.

His agent is saying high 90's % chance he's done for the year, and he'll need surgery. Risk of significant long term damage if the shoulder continues to get dislocated.

Not sure how true it is, but if he was on this team I'm sure we'd shut him down rather than risk a career. If he does play, Sixers should attack him hard immediately from the start of the game. Measure if he'll be tentative and if the shoulder will hold up.

Expect the Sixers to continue to have mismatches on the perimeter.

Some interesting stuff from the advanced box score from last night:

- The Sixers had more attempts at the rim (22) than long twos (21).
- In the lane (35), outside the lane (34)
- Boston had only 15 attempts at the rim, 33 long twos.
- 22 in the lane, 56 outside the lane.

- Paul Pierce was 2/2 on shots at the rim, and 13/13 from the line. One of the FTs was an and-one on a jumper from the elbow. Three others were from being fouled on a three, and finally one was on a technical. So 8 of his free throws came on whistles going to the hoop. Basically, every time he entered the paint, the refs blew the whistle. It's just absurd that Pierce is getting the call every single time he goes in there.

Charlie H reply to Brian on May 24 at 12:27

I see a lot of Celtics games and it's been that way for a long time. He's clever and all, good at fooling officials, but it's got to be more than that. The female-tennis-player scream maybe, star status.... What I hate is officials calling something they don't see, like the call on Turner for a wrist slap on the elbow jumper. Replay showed he wasn't touched at all if I'm not mistaken. If it didn't happen, you didn't see it.

The officials clearly don't like ET. He got jolted by blows to the body at least twice in plain view and a couple more times in the lane.

This version of the Celtics reminds me of their counterparts from 1987-88, when they kept playing younger, more athletic teams (Pistons, Bucks, Hawks) and (mostly) winning close series through a combination of experience and favorable refereeing. In those days, Celtics haters knew that their teams had to really outplay the Celtics to win a game at the Garden, because the Celtics were going to get all the close calls.

Rich reply to Brian on May 24 at 13:20

He just yells and gets whatever he wants. Once or twice, I was at the game and couldn't tell from just a replay, Iguodala looked visibly upset at the call like he did when he stripped Love clean. Not the second foul on Iggy because that was bad defense by Jrue, but maybe the third and fourth ones.

his first and second were both BS, imo. And I think on the fourth one first Iguodala, then Brand had their entire hand directly on top of the ball with no body contact at all. It was just pitiful.

Didn't see a good replay of the foul they called on the three-pointer, I think he might've walked under him a little bit on that one. Turner didn't hit him on the elbow jumper where he got the and-one.

If you're calling a game tight, then fine. I can understand it, but they really weren't calling the game tight last night. If the Sixers were getting the calls Pierce did, they would've gone to the line 40 times. In fact, the Sixers completely dominated the paint while the Celtics were almost exclusively a jump shooting team last night, and the free throws were 23 for Boston, 24 for Philly until the two intentional fouls at the end of the game. That's such a fucking joke.

Rich reply to Brian on May 24 at 13:42

Damn, so he was in foul trouble on two bad ones?

Just saw the and one he got on Turner. Worse than it looked in the arena.

UGly with a capital UG. Now the summit meeting.

Reminds me of Russian Prime Minister Aleksei Kosygin and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson situating at Glassboro State College (currently 'Rowan University') - halfway point between Washington, D.C. and NYC - in June '67 following tensions resulting from the Arab-Israeli "Six Day War" and a spiraling arms race. Despite plentiful photo-ops, caviar and vodka, the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in '68 put an end to the "happy talk" generated by the impromptu meeting of the top representatives of political giants and rivals.

On a slightly smaller scale of import... with Ray Allen as swift and balanced as a peg-legged pirate and Avery Bradley, Cs best up-top defender, bearing a crooked and tender shoulder, Sixers have once again lucked into a favorable match-up. PP, KG, Rondo & Bass is essentially all that they have on offense [reduce coverage needs, reduce confusion].

In desperation mode against a less-than-desperate squad, Sixers went to the mat, solved the quadraathletic riddle well last night. Saturday, following rest and boosting spoonfuls of Geritol, Cs will be hoppin' again, just like their building, soon to be crammed with Beacon Hill patricians and "Southie" plebes who want nothing more than to bury the civilization of Philadelphia. Rumor: a relative of rapper Oliver Wendell Holmes will present the game ball to the officials.

Trouble is, for the proud former champions of the basketball world, Game 7 bounces are decidedly neutral in disposition, aka "up for grabs." Against a generally quicker opponent.

Will Prime Minister Rivers outfox President Collins. Or will it come down to the the aim of available warheads? One thing is for certain, detante is not in the immediate offing of Celtics-Sixers "negotiations."

Tom Moore on May 24 at 12:25

btw, how the hell did Iguodala hit those two freebies at the end of the game? He was in the middle of a Mackey Sasser mental breakdown from the stripe, and he just steps up and calmly swishes both. No idea where that came from.

6 point lead cushioned him from "Steve Sax Syndrome" effects. Not make or break. Goatability quotient low.

"Goatability quotient" was off the charts against Chicago, no?

In all seriousness, his free throw shooting is mystifying. I'd rather him take an open three.

Was tighter, 2 pt lead?, don't recall exactly. He'll always have West Chicago. :)

Down 1 with 2 seconds left in Game 6 vs. Chicago, he made two. That's as high-pressure a situation as it gets. Not surprised that you don't remember it ;-)

Are you SURE of your stats, Statman? Besides, it was Thursday evening, a time to relax. :)

Whatever Iguodala's overall troubles at the line are, he's 11 of 12 from the line in the 4th quarter in the playoffs, 4 of 4 in "clutch" situations. That isn't to say that I would be that confident if he stepped up to the line in a crucial situation in Game 7 ...

Rich reply to Statman on May 24 at 13:32

I'd be surprised if they got a ton of free throws in Game 7, especially with the way Game 5 was officiated. There is going to have to be a ton of finishing through contact.

They don't release the referee assignments until the day of the game, right?

Rich reply to Brian on May 24 at 13:25

I wonder if Stern is going to bring in Bavetta for this one. That would be too obvious, right?

Sixers best ref draw for Gm 7: Mike Callahan, Cardinal O'Hara HS alum; Ed Malloy, Cardinal O'Hara HS alum; Joey Crawford, Cardinal O'Hara HS alum

honorable mention: Fred Boyd, Sixers #1 draft pick in '72 B.C. (before Collins)

You'd think so with the O'Hara alums but I'd only want Callahan out of them. I think Joey is the best game manager in the league, even if he does let his anger get the best of him, but I hate when he refs the Sixers. It's as if he is overcompensating for where he is from. He reffed last night too, so I don't think he'll get the next one.

Malloy was a member of the Game 5 crew, so I'll pass on him as well. All of those guys get an F for that game.

As Thomas "Tip" O'Neill, the late statesman and speaker from a house in Cambridge MA, a former hardy hoopster for the Boston College Eagles and a longtime Celtics fan, once conceded, "all politics is local."

johnrosz reply to Brian on May 24 at 16:17

Anybody but Slick Joe Mauer

Justin Morneau reply to johnrosz on May 25 at 8:17

I agree!

Violet Palmer?

Stan reply to Kainer on May 24 at 13:32


A couple of big things:

Hawes made jumpers. He didn't rebound well, but he neutralized that by making shots. There were a couple of nice drive and kicks to Spence, which he knocked down. EB made shots down the stretch too. Dre had an awesome drive and kick on Pierce.

The whole team did an EXCELLENT job on Rondo. Even though he was creeping up on a triple double, his assist stats are inflated. He is their whole offense, and their defense on him made the Celtics an even worse offensive team than they already are. Make him a scorer. Please, at all costs do that.

By the way, the offense they played at the end of the second quarter was inexcusable. They can't have a minute of basketball like that in Game 7 if they want to win. It's going to be a challenge.

spencer for hire on May 24 at 14:04

Last night was the first time ever that I wanted R.Allen on the floor rather than off it. Pietrus seems to be a major step up defensively and is hitting more 3's, or so it seems.

As far as the refs go, Tommy Heinsohn already feels they are doing a bad job in Game 7.

That's funny! A good laugh.

One of the things that has amazed me the most during the play-off run is how often the Sixers have gotten to the line compared to the regular season. If they could have done this all season season long they would have won the division and been the team with the home court. Jrue and Turner needs to carry the attack the paint at all opportunity mentality into next season

I;d be ecstatic to see them grind out another ugly win like last game or game 6 of the Chicago series. It would be so great to see the Sixers officially put the nail in the coffin of Bostons "Big 3" teams. Can't wait to see Rondo on a rebuilding team get exposed. And maybe we will here a "Beat the Heat" chant from the Boston fans to harken back to the Beat LA chant in game 7 '82. But that is probably to much to ask for.

ItAintEZ reply to tk76 on May 24 at 17:05

I swear after game 4 I had a dream that everything played out just as it has so far and ended just as you said, with a beat the Heat chant in Boston after we have game 7 in hand.

I was just thinking that this morning ("Beat the Heat") as I was watching YouTube footage of 1982's Game 7 (my favorite NBA game of all-time). In retrospect, it's amazing that the Boston crowd chanted "Beat LA," because the Sixers were seemingly much bigger rivals to the Celtics than the Lakers at that point (Sixers and Celtics had faced off in three straight ECFs while the Celtics and Lakers hadn't met since 1969). I hated the Celtics so much in those days that the Pistons and Lakers became my 2nd and 3rd-favorite teams for being the teams that eliminated the Celtics ("the enemy of my enemy is my friend").

I'm just hoping the Sixers do better than the last time they faced the Celtics in a one-and-done situation (Pierce scored 46 with 8 3's).

Hah, Tonie Battie started for that Celtics team (against Mutumbo.) For some reason I remember being more angry about the multiple Antoine Walker shimmies in that game. For whatever reason Pierce is an afterthought when people talk about top players- but he has had an impressive career. And his great Christmas gifts to referees make his drives that much more effective.

ItAintEZ reply to tk76 on May 24 at 18:19

I am the same. All I remember of that game is a bunch of 3's and a bunch of those stupid shimmies. I think that stupid shimmie is one of the reasons I didn't feel bad at all when I heard Walker blew all his money and was now broke.

Charlie H reply to Statman on May 24 at 17:47

My favorite game too, as I've probably said 8 times on this board. 2002 hurt. I actually did the arms extended bow to my Celtic fan friends, Pierce was so great. I'll never do that again. Forgot he scored so many.

Buke reply to tk76 on May 24 at 18:03

Don't know if this link has been posted here yet, but I enjoyed reading it. At least one sportswriter seems to be enjoying the Sixers' style of postseason play.


Court_visioN on May 24 at 19:49

One thing I noticed: Iguodala's foul trouble in the first half skewed Collins rotation so we didn't see Lou-Meeks-Turner in the second quarter. Not a big correlation to the win as shown in the rotation chart, but interesting nonetheless.

Tom Moore on May 24 at 19:54

8:00 it is

eddies' heady's on May 24 at 23:12

So if Kenny Mauer reffed tonight's game in IND does that rule him out for a game two days later? Anyone know?

No idea how they rotate them. You'd think a game 7 with no other game on the day on either side would allow for the league to put their best team of officials on the court. Not sure who they consider to be their best team, or if they just have a set rotation.

...so that means Bavetta, Joey Crawford, Violet AND Donaghy then?

I must have missed that the Sixers lost game 6 and the Celtics next game is against the Heat. I'be never seen a game 7 get zero national coverage ... and its not exactly like there is some other game 7 that it is competing against.

They have spent 100% of there NBA coverage on game 1 of the Celtics/Heat. Even if were not a Sixers fan I'd love to see them eat crow.

Then again no one outside of Philly wants to see a Sixers/Heat ECF. They would probably be talking about the Finals before vane 1 is even decided.

Jesse reply to tk76 on May 25 at 2:53

Are you drunk or on an overnight call?

tk76 reply to Jesse on May 25 at 3:01

Just can't type well on my phone... and getting frustrated with the coverage outside if Philly.

spencer for hire reply to tk76 on May 25 at 6:37

Tk, I am also so tired of a league that promotes and caters to its stars and certain teams. Is this what Stern wants?

Next year lets give them a Sixers/Nuggets final so they can put it on the outdoor channel!!!

"Only Garnett and Rondo are healthy. [Celtics] are being held together by baling wire and tape... they're going to need everybody near 100 percent and that's going to be difficult."

- Tom "Tommy Gun" Heinsohn, 5/25/12, "Mike & Mike" radio

Greenberg: "Tommy, I think a lot of us from the outside expected the Celtics to win this series more easily than they will, assuming they do wrap it up tomorrow night, or of course if they should lose, what a colossal disappoinment. Why has this been such a struggle?"

Heinsohn: "Well, this is far from a 100% basketball team. Every one of the players with the exception of Rondo and KG have been hurt. The main offensive people, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce, have been hindered by injury. They lost their best defensive guy in Bradley now. And the bench has really not been a factor. And Pietrus, who had played so well until he ended up with the whiplash concussion, doesn't seem to have come around from that situation. So they've been battling everything from the concussions to knee problems, and they're being held together by bailing wire and tape."

Rose: "As you well know, anything can happen in a Game Seven. What do you expect from the Boston Celtics if they plan to advance?"

Heinsohn: "Well, if they have any semblance of being healthy, I think they'll win the game. The other night, to me, it looked like they ran out of gas. They may have just reached the point where age has finally hit them and the injuries have finally taken over. Rajon Rondo, who has been carrying the team for a better part of the season with what his abilities will produce - penetration and his great passing - had a subpar game, which he's entitled to. And they got out of the box and won the game. So they need everybody to play close to 100% and that's gonna be difficult."


Sharone Wright on May 25 at 10:23

Disrespectful tweet:
"Miami now gets a bye to the NBA Finals, where they await the winner of OKC-San Antonio. @johnhollinger"

mixville on May 25 at 10:59

Not to compare the two, but doesn't this remind you of all the experts picking the Rays in 2008 soley because they played in the American League. ESPN writer James Caple even referred to the Phillies playing in AAAA when compared to the Rays.

I want the Sixers to win for so many reasons. Yes they win ugly. Yes they don't have superstars. But when they win it is as a team. They play together!

I just want to see John Barry discuss another sixers win like someone just farted on his face!

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