The combination of young (Rajon Rondo) and
old mature (Kevin Garnett) fueled the Boston Celtics to a comeback win in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals 92-91 over the Philadelphia 76′ers
Rajon Rondo notched his 8th career playoff triple-double with 13 points, 17 assists, 12 rebounds and 4 steals. Kevin Garnett continued his torrid play with 29 points, 11 rebounds, and 3 blocks. KG was the key to keeping the Celtics in the game when his teammates struggled to score the first three quarters.
Andre Iguodala led Philly with 19 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Evan Turner was spectacular in the first half but slowed in the second finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Spencer Hawes added 15 points and 8 rebounds while Lavoy Allen was surprisingly effective with 12 points off the Philly bench.
While balance is their trademark their inability to identify a go-to guy in the final period ultimately cost the 76′ers the game. A game they should have won.
The 76′ers led by as many as 13 in the first half and by as many as 10 in the fourth quarter.
Philly answered every single Boston run until the final period. As Boston worked their way back into the game during the final 8 minutes, Philly struggled for offense heaving up ill-advised jumpers finishing the period at just 38% shooting.
Rondo made two clutch jumpers in the fourth quarter and multiple assists to spark the Boston comeback. But it was his play from a cerebral standpoint that sealed Boston victory.
With the 76ers trailing by 3 and possession of the ball, Rondo intentionally fouled Jru Holiday with 3.4 seconds remaining. That foul kept Philly from attempting a game-tying three pointer.
Holiday made both free throws to bring Philly withing one at 92-91. Boston called a timeout and everybody thought the ball was going to Ray Allen (12 points) or Paul Pierce (14 points) to await a foul from the 76′ers.
Everybody thought wrong.
Boston gambled with Paul Pierce lobbing a pass to Rondo in the Philadelphia backcourt. Rondo “out quicked” a reaching Turner and sped off towards the opposite side of the court as time expired.
A true veteran-like win for the Celtics who just executed when it mattered despite looking marked for dead most of the first half.
The encouraging news for Boston is that they got another win when they didn’t play well which is becoming a common theme. The Celtics were able to out-rebound the 76′ers 45-41 and somehow also beat them in fastbreak points 14-13.
Boston’s bench was not statistically dominant but their energy and defense earned praise from Doc Rivers after the game.
“I think they changed the game and gave the starters the blueprint on how we wanted to play” said Rivers.
Ugly wins still count towards the championship goal –so do lucky ones. Boston will attempt to retain the homecourt advantage in Game 2 on Monday night.
About the Author
Written by Warren Shaw
I am an avid Basketball fan who has worked for the New York Knicks, Alonzo Mourning Charities and various other sports organizations. Having covered many NBA and various professional sporting events has given me the opportunity to provide insight with an unbiased but flavor driven view. I look forward to providing NBA content and interacting with knowledgeable fans and readers. Follow me on Twitter @shawsports or Email your questions to me at Warrenshaw@prosportsblogging.com