The Philadelphia 76′ers blew a lead in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals and failed to execute in the fourth quarter allowing the Boston Celtics to steal the victory.
History would not repeat itself in Game 2.
Philly made multiple clutch shots and free throws in the final minutes to avoid another Boston theft by the score of 82-81.
The 76′ers could have folded and they should have folded being on the road in hostile territory. But instead they learned from their errors in Game 1 and grew up right before the Celtics eyes.
Boston is now faced with a fight of epic proportions with the series now tied 1-1 and Philly brimming with confidence as the series heads back to their arena.
Jru Holiday led all scores with 18 points and hit a massive three to give Philly a lead of 74-72 with 1:47 remaining. Ray Allen (17 points) fired back with a three of his own to give Boston back the lead 75-74.
Philly would turn the ball over on their next possession but then Rajon Rondo (8 points, 13 assists, and 7 rebounds) would fire up a feeble jumper that missed badly. Evan Turner (10points and 6 rebounds) hit what was the shot of the game on an off-balance driving layup that put the 76′ers up for good 76-75 with 40 seconds remaining.
After two Turner free throws the score was 78-75. Boston found themselves with an opportunity to tie the contest with 12 seconds remaining. Then the call of the game was made as Kevin Garnett (15 points and 12 rebounds) got whistled for his 3rd offensive foul of the game with 10 seconds remaining.
It was a call that was only controversial due to its timing and the situation in which it occurred, but it was the right call. KG was not set as he lunged into Andre Iguodala who was giving chase to a 3 pointer shooting ready Paul Pierce.
As I tweeted shortly after the game, Boston has been the beneficiary of some bad officiating in the playoffs and those things have a way of coming back to you. And again I add the call was the right call.
Free throws by Lou Williams and Jodie Meeks closed out the scoring for Philly and Garnett hit a meaningless 3 as time expired to bring the score to its final tally.
The Celtics have big problems going forward as this was their third straight lack luster effort in the playoffs.
The second and third quarters were a different kind of ugly for Boston. They managed just 13 points in the second and an even more dreadful 11 points in the third. That third quarter saw the Celtics suffer through a 5 minute drought where they scored exactly as many points as I did in the game.
Of course the Celtics got out rebounded (47-36) and they were thwarted in the free-throw disparity. The 76′ers shot 15-21 while Boston only got to the line 9 times making 7.
When a team has more makes at the line then you even attempt, that almost always spells disaster.
Brandon Bass (10 points) always seems to scrape his way into double figures but his impact on the games has been nullified by his poor shooting. Mickael Pietrus is a shell of his former self and his former self wasn’t exactly Michael Jordan.
Pierce (7 points on 2-9 shooting) is giving his best effort but Igoudala is a world class defender who would give a healthy Pierce problems. Boston has to find someone to help shoulder the load offensively other than Garnett, but nobody else is healthy or skilled enough to do so.
Doc Rivers knows Boston is literally limping through these playoffs
“We don’t have a big margin of error, especially with the bodies we are putting out there” said Rivers, “We are not going to run away from anybody.”
This game made Celtics fan want to run away, especially those middle quarters.
Doc said the team will take a day off tomorrow simply because they need it with the quick turnaround for Game 3 on Wednesday.
The one saving grace is that the Celtics haven’t played well since Game 4 of their first round series. Certainly they are due.
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