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Chance Encounter: Celtics vs 76ers Playoff Preview

Posted By Warren Shaw On May 11 2012 @ 9:38 pm In Boston Celtics | 1 Comment

The Boston Celtics will open up their second round playoff series at home against the Philadelphia 76′ers.

Boston finished a closely contested series with the Atlanta Hawks 4-2 while Philly surprised the number 1 seeded Chicago Bulls 4-2 as well.

Nobody could have seen this coming, and if they did then its likely they own a psychic service with commercials running on late night television.

Where these two teams started the season and finished the season are at completely different ends of the spectrum.

Philly led the Atlantic Division for nearly 3 full months while Boston languished through trade rumors and uninspired play.

The 76′ers laid the smack down on the Celtics complete with the people’s elbow in the first two games they played this season.  Winning the March 7 affair 103-71 and the March 23 contest 99-86 (the game Mickael Pietrus suffered his concussion in).

Once Boston caught the 76er’s for the division lead they did not relinquish the reigns and in turn blew Philly out on April 8 103-79 in Boston.

Three blowout games make it difficult to determine who really has the edge in this series. The games were so diametrically opposed that nothing tangible can be taken into consideration.

Boston is the prohibited favorite to win a closely contested series. Their health however is of paramount concern.

Paul Pierce has a sprained MCL, Ray Allen has bone spurs in his left ankle, Avery Bradley has a”trick” shoulder the likes to play hangman, and Pietrus is dealing with a hamstring injury in addition to a lack of confidence in his shot.

Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett are also battling through injuries but not to a point where their play has suffered. Although Rondo does suffer from a mild case of disinterest from time to time. Other than that Boston is completely healthy and fit for battle.

Philadelphia is a great defensive team and they are well coached by Doug Collins. They lack consistent scoring and that will be their biggest problem in this series. They thrive off of their defense to create their offensive opportunities with fast break points when they force turnovers.

Andre Iguodala is their best overall player but he is not a go-to-guy on the offensive end. He thrives in facilitating and getting others involved despite having average ball handling skills. He along with Thaddeus Young, Jru Holiday, and Lou Williams give the 76′ers the athletic and speed advantage over the Celtics.

How do these teams stack up in the other key categories?






Jru Holiday

Rajon Rondo

Boston: An engaged Rondo is a dangerous Rondo and he will have to be engaged with so many Celtics nursing injuries.

Holiday has grown up in the playoffs and has a reliable jumper but he isn’t the playmaker Rondo is.


Evan Turner

Avery Bradley

Philadelphia: Turner has really blossomed in the second half of the season trying to live up to his lofty draft position. He has an all around game that helps the team even if his shot isn’t falling.

Bradley is still a bit gun shy in these playoffs plus that shoulder is a real issue


Andre Iguodala

Paul Pierce

Even: This could swing towards the favor of Philly if Pierce’s knee gets worse. It is not going to get any better. Iggy has the ability to guard multiple positions and he might see time guarding Rondo with Turner switching on to Pierce in late game situations.


Elton Brand

Brandon Bass

Even: Bass is almost like a poor man’s Brand in his prime. The problem for Philly is that Brand has the tendency to disappear but he is capable of giving them post scoring which is something they can’t get from anyone else.


Spencer Hawes

Kevin Garnett

Boston: Garnett should be able to get his shot off easily with good footwork, fade aways and fakes against Hawes

Garnett could really get into the head of the young Hawes and make the series miserable for him. Hawes doesn’t have the footwork to take KG in the post nor the speed to drive past him off the dribble.

Key Bench Players

Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, Jodie Meeks Lavoy Allen, and Nikola Vucevic,

Ray Allen, Mickael Pietrus, Greg Stiemsma, Ryan Hollins, and Keyon Dooling

Philadelphia: Williams has led the 76ers in scoring on numerous occasions this season. A streaky shooter if there ever was one. Young has a tendency to play out of control but his athletic ability can’t be denied. Meeks is a good shooter especially from 3 who the C’s will have to pay attention to

Boston’s bench is completely reliant on Allen who suffered a set-back with his ankle. Without him the bench produces nothing other than brief rest for the starters. Hollins and Stiemsma just need to rebound and play defense. If Pietrus regained any sort of confidence in this series, then Boston would truly be in the money.


Doug Collins

Doc Rivers

Even: As good as Doc is he isn’t going to outcoach Collins in this series. Collins has a firm grip on the identity of his team and has learned what buttons to push and when. Doc’s strange affinity towards Ryan Hollins gives him a knock below for me.

Prediction: Celtics in 6

The two teams are evenly matched but with homecourt advantage in Boston’s favor the Celtics are prohibited favorites.

The Celtics have the talent to win this series easily but with their injuries and propensity to play to the level of their competition look for this series to take a while.

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