Do or Die

Tonight will reveal which team will have the opportunity to be swept by the Miami Heat beginning next week. The Sixers and Celts are about 2 hours away from tip-off in a do or die game 7 at the Garden. I won’t pull a KG and call the Celtics fans “fair weather” even though  for about 10 years a significantly less amount of people went to the games because they were bad and even this year I did not hear one word about the Celtics from fans until about one month remaining in the regular season because they had finally taken first place from the Sixers. Quite frankly, I think any team that is bad for a long period of time is bound to lose fans and have low attendance. Why would you buy season tickets or pay to go to games to watch your team put on a bad show? That’s like hearing every critic tell you this movie was the worst they have ever seen and you still paying 14 dollars to go see it in the movie theater. Anyway, I don’t care what KG says, he is a thug who would have been booed out of Boston this year if he did not have an epiphany at the beginning of the playoffs and found some way to play like he had in his prime. 

This series has been ugly, brutal at times, and I do not think either of these teams has any chance at beating the Heat. You cannot honestly call yourself a championship contender and consistently have multiple quarters a game scoring under 15 points. That is unacceptable and will not get you a sniff at the championship. I am extremely surprised the Sixers have managed to get to a game seven. Maybe the NBA really is rigged and was telling the refs not to call anything for the Sixers all series. I am leaning towards the fact that the refs have no respect for any of the Sixers players yet and that is why they are getting no calls. During the regular season the Sixers were a mid-range jump shooting team, that rarely drove to the hoop. In these playoffs, Lou Williams and Jrue Holiday have been attacking relentlessly. However, the back of their jerseys do not say Pierce or Garnett so they have not been getting any calls. It’s a sad trend in this league, and I think the NBA needs more teams like the Sixers to bring respectful play and gamesmanship back to the league. You don’t see them falling down when getting bumped at the 3 point line just to emphasize the fact that they got fouled, or see them complaining to the referees every time a foul is called on them. The league is full of floppers and embellishers, and the Celtics have one of the worst offenders in Paul Pierce. Pierce is a good player, but to constantly drive to the hoop and throw your arms up in the air with no expectations of the ball ending up anywhere near the basket is embarrassing, especially when he gets calls from the refs every time. Why can’t he take the ball to the hoop and go up strong without flailing his arms and screaming like he just got hit by an 18 wheeler? In the 3rd quarter of game 6, he was dribbling 4 feet behind the 3 point line and got bumped by Lavoie Allen. It was a clear foul, and it would have been called yet he felt the need to flop to the ground.

I’m not trying to pick on Paul Pierce, because there are many other players in the league who do it, but I can honestly say nobody on the Sixers plays that way. They play hard, honest basketball which is something every team should do. You wouldn’t catch Julius Erving and Larry Bird flopping around the court or snapping their heads back when a guy puts his hand on their chest. The Sixers might not be as talented as other teams, they might not have as much experience, but they play as a team and play the game the right way. That is why I think the basketball God’s are looking down on them tonight and helping them fight through the adversity of being in a game 7 at the Garden where the refs will continue to be favorable for the Celtics. If they lose, they lose and it won’t be the refs fault. The whole series the refs have been against them and they’ve won 3 games, so there is no reason they can’t win game 7. I honestly think the Celtics have realized once Avery Bradley went down for the season that their chances of beating the Heat or one of the West teams was slim to none. That is why I like the Sixers to come out smoking tonight as they did in game 5, but they won’t relinquish the lead this time. Sixers advance to the East Finals to get swept by LeBron, but tonight is every Sixers fan’s championship. The chance to end the Big 3 era. It will be sweet.

Perfect Storm

Wow. That’s all I could say after witnessing the 2nd half of that game last night. Many people are very against booing your own team at home and will say it’s very disrespectful but I feel the complete opposite way. As fans, we are the people paying these players salaries essentially. We have the right to let them know when they are not playing well and we have the right to praise them when they are playing great. The Sixers were booed off the court at halftime, and I guarentee everyone on that team including coach Doug Collins will agree that they deserved it. For me, getting booed off the court at home would be motivation enough to dig deep and play that 2nd half to my potential, and that’s exactly what the Sixers did. Momentum is a huge deal in basketball, and right now the Sixers have it. Think of how big of a swing emotionally and physically that was for both teams. The Celtics were up 19 in the 3rd quarter, cruising to a 3-1 series lead and potentially resting some starters to close out the series on Monday. Instead, the Celtics open the door for the Sixers who were shooting 21% in the first half to gain confidence in their shot, their game, and the idea that they have a legitimate shot at winning this series. I’ve heard a lot of complaining about the foul discrpency, as the Sixers got to the line about 18 or so more times than the Celtics, but any basketball fan who watched could have seen that the Sixers took it to the rim much more often than the Celtics.

As I said in my last post, Thad Young playing well is a huge boost to this team. It showed in both halves last night. Thad looked terrible in the 1st half, making poor passes, dribbling the ball into traps and not being able to throw the ball in the ocean. I’m honestly surprised Doug stuck with him in the 2nd half but it paid off. Thad out worked the Celtics defense, battling for offensive boards and making good cuts to the hoop and finishing. This Sixers bench has virtually been nonexistent this whole playoffs, and last night was a resurgence of the Sixers backbone. Sweet Lou played like the 6th man he has been all year, making scoring look easy at times. Now I would be crazy to say I wanted the Sixers to go down 14-0 in the first quarter and be down by 19 in the 2nd half, but honestly it couldn’t have worked out more perfectly. This truly is the perfect storm for the Sixers. This confidence boost couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. With the confidence through the roof and the Celtics seriously looking at whether or not they are contenders could be that little bit of doubt needed for the Sixers to get a crucial win Monday night. If the Sixers can come out in the 1st half like they played the end of the last game, I really like the Sixers chances of winning this series. It all comes down to toughness and whether the Sixers really want to win or not. The one edge I think the Celtics have on the Sixers right now is they have been here before and know what it takes to win a tight series. However, whether the Celtics have the pieces to finish off a series is something we will find out. Their bench is just not good, and I have said all year you can’t be a contender without a bench. Your star guys are going to have tough games, and if your relying on Greg Steimsma or Ryan Hollins to be a solid option off the bench you are crazy. Not to mention they should call Brandon Bass Brandon “first half” Bass because that guy was nowhere to be found in the 2nd half of last nights game.

Sixers and Celtics Game 4

Game 3 was an utter disappointment to Sixers fans all over the world, yes all ten of us. The Sixers flat-out did not show up defensively, allowing the Celts to shoot a ridiculous 50 percent from the field. While every part of me hated the fact that the Sixers got blown out at home where they were perfect so far this postseason, a little bit of me is optimistic about the blowout. The Sixers for the most part had been playing extremely poorly offensively since about game two of the Chicago series, yet they had been in every game and were finding ways to win without putting the ball in the hoop. The Sixers have the ability to score, they were doing it all year, and maybe this will serve as their wake up call. If you want to win in the playoffs, you need to play well on offense and defense night in and night out. You can’t afford to take nights off, and I think the young 76ers learned that lesson on Wednesday night. With that being said, I expect the Sixers to come out tonight strong. I think the every other day format the Celtics have been playing over the last 2 weeks will take its toll on the old timers and we could see a double-digit win for my Sixers tonight. Thad Young was the lone bright spot for the Sixers Wednesday night, and if he has truly found his game which he hasn’t been able to do since the playoffs began, and that can be a huge advantage going forward in the series. I think the Sixers bench had been their biggest advantage all season, and it had been shortened in the playoffs because quite frankly, Thad and Jodie Meeks had seemed to have checked out. Another positive for the Sixers is that realistically speaking, KG won’t hit every shot like he did the other night. I think Doug Collins can use the last games loss to inspire his team to play well tonight, which is something he has been doing all season. Look for the Sixers to play a strong first half, and to have a 3rd quarter like they had been used to all season where they come out from halftime and out-hustle and out-work the other team. Let’s see a 2-2 series heading to Boston on Monday, Sixers 87 Celtics 74.

Back to Reality

Tonight is the first of three meetings between the Celtics and my beloved 76ers. The Celtics have won 5 straight games and are only a game behind the Sixers, which is surprising that the Sixers are still even in first after the loss of almost all their big men for a while. Here is the thing about the Sixers. They play the good teams tough but don’t have the scorer yet to win them those 1-2 point games. When they play teams that aren’t in the top 5 in the league, they usually demolish them and that is what I am expecting them to do to the Celtics tonight. The Sixers have the number one defense in the league, and the Celtics are lucky to put up 90 points a night, most nights falling somewhere in the mid 80’s. Pair that up with the fact that the Celtics are playing on back to back nights, and I am looking for a 15-20 point beating by my Sixers. Sure the Celtics play some good defense, but honestly I just think they are too slow and old for this Sixers team. I can see the Sixers running up and down the court in transition all day, so look for a large discrepancy in fast break points tonight. Plus the Sixers bench is 100 times better than the Celtics. This game is a power move in the Atlantic. These are the only two teams with a chance of winning it, and it’s questionable to even give the Celtics a chance in my opinion. The Knicks are garbage and so are the rest of the teams in the division, so this game will clearly show who should win the Atlantic. Also, if you are a Celtics fan, prepare yourself for a long couple of weeks. After tonight the Celtics began playing some West teams, starting with the Trailblazers at home but then a West Coast road trip to LA, Golden State, Sacramento and Denver, wrapped up by games at Atlanta, Milwaukee and Philly again…good luck.

Tbows pick- Sixers 102 Celtics 72