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76ers-Celtics Game 2: Analysis, Grades, & More

In a sluggish, defensively-minded game, the Philadelphia 76ers made their free throws and played tight defense as they evened things up against Boston at 1-1. After scoring only 106 combined points through three quarters, the teams combined to score 57 in just the fourth quarter alone as part of a thrilling finish.

Keys to Philadelphia’s Victory:

1. Rebounding, rebounding, rebounding!

For the first time during these playoffs, the 76ers finally dominated the boards. Not only did they out-rebound Boston 47-36, but they won the offensive rebounding battle by five as well. They scored ten second-chance points, including a back-breaking tip-in by Lou Williams with three minutes to go in the third quarter; that basket gave Philly its first lead of the second half. In the second half, when the defense was able to force a missed shot, there were no clean-up opportunities for the Celtics. The Sixers aggressively moved back to the basket and secured the rebound, whether it be Spencer Hawes or Evan Turner.

2. Aggressive Second-Half Defense

The Sixers were terrorized late in Game 1 by Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett, who took advantage of open spaces to make killer jump shots. One of the biggest differences in Game 2, however, was the fact that these same guys had to take contested shots and they simply didn’t fall tonight.

In the last six minutes of Game 1, three different Celtics players combined to hit 6 mid-range jump shots on their way to a game-winning 13-7 run. In Game 2, however, the Celtics missed four of those very same shots and only stayed close due to clutch three-point shooting. In addition, the press defense of Lavoy Allen and Evan Turner forced Garnett into several bad decisions, including two late turnovers as well as three or four missed shots that would’ve given Boston the win.

3. Late-Game Free Throw Shooting

Nothing kills an experienced coach like Doug Collins more than missed free throws late in a game. After Evan Turner hit the go-ahead layup with 40 seconds remaining, the 76ers hit their final six free throw attempts to silence the Celtics’ comeback attempt. The only reason this game wasn’t a seven- or eight-point win was because of late three-pointers by Ray Allen and Garnett. If Williams, Turner, and Meeks had missed any of these attempts, the Sixers could be in a much different situation, down 2-0 as they head back to the City of Brotherly Love.

Grades

Evan Turner: B+

Turner played well defensively, bodying up KG as well as suffocating Rondo at times, and he also made two of the most clutch shots of his life in the 4th quarter. He struggled during the first 36 minutes, however, and needs to work on limiting his turnovers (5).

Lavoy Allen: A

Allen battles with Brandon Bass; Lavoy was an important paint presence in Game 2.

After a pleasantly surprising performance in Game 1, Allen only compounded his successes with a jaw-dropping performance in Game 2. Not only was he an offensive force, going 4-7 for 10 points, but he affected the game around him with excellent defense on KG (2 steals, 2 blocks, suffocating post defense) and 8 rebounds in a season-high 30 minutes. This showed in his ridiculous +21 plus/minus, and this rookie has the opportunity to be one of Philadelphia’s stars going forward.

Jrue Holiday: A-

Holiday played really well in Game 2, going 4-6 from beyond the arc while scoring 18 points and collecting two steals and three assists. He shot 7-15 from the field as a whole, and made some of the biggest shots of his career; with 1:57 left, he gave Philly its first lead of the second half, 74-72, on a three-ball over Paul Pierce.

Andre Iguodala: B+

After struggling early on to make his shots, Iguodala came through in the clutch with some very big plays. He started out the game 2-7 from the free throw line, and those five points were the difference at half time between a two-possession lead and a deficit. In the second half, however, he made some key jumpers during the 13-0 third-quarter run as well as in the fourth quarter. Although these were big, his most important play was the offensive foul he drew on Kevin Garnett in the last minute of the game; as KG put his body into him, Andre just fought through the illegal screen and pretty much sealed the deal.

He was also excellent on defense as he always is, holding Paul Pierce to only seven points while collecting six rebounds as well. He also added 7 assists.

Lou Williams: B-

As he has been all series, Lou Williams simply didn’t have it today. Just 3-13 from the field, his most important contribution might have simply been his seven rebounds. What Lou needs to do is stop shooting jumpers early on, because his M.O. has always been to drive early and shoot later. It’s worked in the past, so why change now?

Moment of the Game

Evan Turner Layup (0:40 – 4th Quarter)

Stat of the Game

Offensive Rebounding – Sixers 11, Celtics 6

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Categories: 76ers, Editorial

Author:Manav Khandelwal

I am the founder of Khandyman Sports, and follow all Philadelphia pro sports teams religiously. I also write for the Hoop76, covering the Sixers for ESPN, and am a credentialed Flyers reporter for Main Line Media News.

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2 Comments on “76ers-Celtics Game 2: Analysis, Grades, & More”

  1. Daniel Smith
    May 19, 2012 at 4:34 pm #

    Jrue Holiday was 5/22 from the field. How the hell does that give him a B+?

    • May 19, 2012 at 8:09 pm #

      I think you’re talking about Evan Turner and this is for Game 2; Turner went 5/22 in Game 4.

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