In the epitome of a pivotal game, Brandon Bass gave the Boston Celtics a much needed lift to defeat the Philadelphia 76′ers 101-85 to take control of the series 3-2.
Bass picked a perfect time to play the best playoff game of his career scoring 27 points and grabbing 6 rebounds. The game turned when Bass exploded for 18 points in the third quarter and the Celtics defense limited the entire 76′ers team to just 16 points in the period.
“For me, I was just taking advantage of my opportunity. They were doubling Paul (Pierce), they left me open and I was able to hit shots.” said Bass after the game.
Boston’s energy was off to start which gave the 76′ers a lead for the majority of the contest. They also had to endure the resurrection of Elton Brand’s corpse who got hot early finishing the game with 19 points.
Despite Boston’s seemingly lack of energy and interest Philadelphia never led by more than 6 and only managed a 50-47 lead at half time.
The Celtics stayed close thanks to a large contribution from Greg Stiemsma who scored 8 of his 10 points in the 2nd quarter. Kevin Garnett helped too scoring 14 of his 20 points in the first half.
Without them Boston would have been lost.
The fact that the 76′ers only lead by 3 at the half after shooting 55% was a terrible sign of things to come for Philadelphia.
The play of the game for Boston was something that would seemingly be insignificant and even to the detriment of the Celtics.
With 7:41 left in the 3rd quarter Kevin Garnett was called for an offensive foul as he drove to the basket on Spencer Hawes for a layup. The call was questionable but there have been worse calls in the playoffs.
For whatever reason the Boston crowd seemed to take offense and became extremely engaged which gave the Celtics a push and true home court advantage from that moment on.
Really it was something that little.
Boston went on a 10-0 run after that call including a large portion of the Bass assault to take a 67-57 advantage. The 76′ers would then lose composure like the Celtics in Game 4 making turnovers that JV teams would find deplorable. The Philly shots that found their mark so easily in the first half were all suddenly left short and the Celtics were rejuvenated.
The Celtics stretched their lead to as many 20 before closing the game out by its 16 point final margin.
Boston played the game without spark plug Avery Bradley whose shoulder injury has become to unbearable to continue playing through in this series. Ray Allen was reinserted into the starting lineup as a result and played Bradleyesque like defense on the smaller/quicker Philadelphia guards.
No the ball pressure up the court was not Bradleyesque but Allen’s close outs and ability to stay grounded on shot fakes was something truly unexpected and necessary for Boston.
Allen scored just 5 points but his impact on this game was felt.
Boston heads back to Philadelphia attempting to close the series out in 6 games on Wednesday. Bass will be lucky to get 7 points let alone anywhere near 27 again as the 76′ers are likely to pay him much attention going forward.
The Celtics are the better team but they haven’t been able to break Philly’s spirit and a Game 7 could be in the making. Andre Iguodala had just 8 points and he will undoubtedly be better on his home court.
The 76′ers have shown they are resilient and it will be imperative for the Celtics to be consistent to end this series in six games.
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