The Boston Celtics (32-27) walked into the Wells Fargo Center looking to at least tie their season series with the Sixers, but had to do so without star point guard Rajon Rondo. The Sixers (23-36) were looking to gain some positive momentum due to the fact that they have lost 9 of their last 11 games. Doug Collins was forced to start Royal Ivey due to the sprained left ankle of Nick Young, but Ivey could not produce the scoring that Young is capable of.
Early on in this game, neither team was playing well defensively. Each team was scoring in the paint at will and it was a sloppy game. For the Celtics, Kevin Garnett started off hot as he made his first 3 jump shots in consecutive possessions. The Sixers could not get any type of half court offense going, but the energy of Thaddeus Young provided a big spark for them and they kept the game competitive in the 1st quarter. Once again, Evan Turner got off to a sluggish start, which gets many fans riled up by the fact that the Sixers did not accept Josh Smith for Turner and Spencer Hawes (who finished with 14 points and 6 rebounds).
In the first 24 minutes, the Sixers were able to move the ball well and Jrue Holiday ended the half with 9 assists. As a team, 16 of their 22 field goals were assisted.
In the second half, the Sixers could not stop Avery Bradley, a player who is known for his defensive abilities, but who scored 22 points in this game. They were also unable to replicate their first half performance. Although they cut the 3rd quarter deficit from 14 to 5, the Celtics started the 4th with a 7-0 run. The Sixers could have easily won this game with better defense and shooting.
Keys to Sixers Loss:
The Sixers struggled to put the ball in the basket, as they shot 41-100. The more impressive stat, is that they were able to attempt 100 shots. The problem is that those shots were not necessarily high-percentage shots. They shot 41% from the field and 23.8% (5-21) from beyond the arc. This low field goal percentage begins with Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner. When the ball is not being spread around, it is usually in their hands and they force up bad shots (they combined to go 12-36 from the field). They must get better if they want to win.
A re-occurring theme for the Sixers is that they cannot finish games strong. In the first half, they were only down a few possessions, but they let it get away from them when they stopped spreading the ball around, and shied away from their game plan. Their most amount of points allowed in this game, came in the 4th quarter.
Player of the Game: Paul Pierce (BOS)
At 35 years of age, Paul Pierce can still get the job done. He can make contested shots, grab rebounds, and get others involved. Tonight he did just that, with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Avery Bradley is known as one of the most prolific defenders in the league, but he is not expected to hurt a team with his scoring. Against the Sixers, he scored 22 points and shot 10-of-15 (66.6%) from the field.