Sixers are hosting the Celtics tomorrow night followed by a game at the Garden on Saturday. We are almost a quarter of the way through the season and the Sixers and Celts are both sitting at 10-8. These two games probably don’t mean as much to the Celtics as they do to the Sixers. Who knows when Bynum is going to be back. I have said it all along that if the Sixers can go .500 until Bynum is back they will be able to contend for a championship. However, if he gets pushed back any later than mid January I will have to retract that statement. Most years .500 would get you a spot in the playoffs easily in the East. This year I’m not so sure. I thought the Sixers would have the Atlantic locked and have Boston as their biggest threat but Brooklyn and New York decided to show up this season. The reason I say these two mean more to the Sixers than the Celtics is because this could possibly be the team going forward for the duration of the season. It’s possible there is no Bynum at all which should result in a blanket party for Sixers upper management for leading us all on, so this is really a test to see if they have what it takes. The Sixers beat them in the first match-up this year, and that is the game where I think something clicked with Evan Turner because he has been on a tear ever since. I think he is the X-factor in these two games along with Thad Young. Celtics don’t really have anyone who can match up with Thad because he’s big and athletic.
Unfortunately, it looks like the Sixers might not have Nick Young for these two games because he’s still battling
vaginitis turf- toe. While Nick Young really helps the Sixers bench scoring which is the reason they have been struggling the past few games without him, I don’t think his absence will hurt them too much. Celtics can score at times but at other times they can be shut down with good, solid D which is what the Sixers play. Plus when the Sixers played the Celts earlier, the Sixers were without J-Rich who is a more consistent 3-point shooter so I’ll call it a wash. I honestly wish this wasn’t a home and home because I think most likely we are going to see a split. It is just human nature for Team A who won last night against Team B to relax while Team B needs to play harder to make up for the night before. But, since the Sixers have been owning the Celtics the past few years in regular season games I like a nice clean sweep. Jrue has been playing like an all-star point guard, and quite frankly if he doesn’t make it I will never watch an all-star game again. He’s averaging 18 points a game and 9 assists and has just simply taken over close games in crunch time and hitting clutch shots.
Keys in the Sixers 2 wins- Lavoie Allen plays shut down defense on KG, Dorell Wright and Jason Richardson are dripping like a Hanukkah candle from the 3 point line, and Thad Young and Turner rack up double digit points. Game. Set. Match
Game 1- Sixers 100-83
Game 2- Sixers 97-92
Maybe Rondo can try not to get thrown out of another big division game over a regular foul.
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.
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.