The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers faced off on back to back days this week, playing Friday night in Philly before traveling to Boston to meet again on Saturday.
In the first showdown between the two teams Paul Pierce was determined to make his presence felt. He was in double figures by the end of the first quarter and eventually took 24 shots from the field en route to a game high 27 points. Rajon Rondo also had his game flowing as he recorded the 14th triple-double of his career racking up 16 points, 14 assists, and 13 rebounds (also three steals, three blocks).
On the other end of the floor, though, the Sixers were ready to match their intensity. Evan Turner battled Paul Pierce all night as the two talked trash throughout the game. But Evan Turner was the one who left feeling satisfied as he knocked the game winning shot with four seconds to go in the overtime period. He finished with 26 points on 26 shot attempts and added 10 rebounds and five assists. Thaddeus Young added a big 17 point, 12 rebound double-double to help lead his team to a victory. In the end, the well balanced effort from the Sixers with five guys in double figures was just enough to get them the W.
We saw seven players log at least 40 minutes in the first meeting between these two teams on Friday night. With Nick Young out of the lineup for the Sixers, Doug Collins has been shortening his bench quite a bit and Doc Rivers was forced to match those minutes with his stars. Jeff Green was the only reserve to see significant minutes in this game playing 28 minutes and making a strong impact with 19 points on 12 shots and eight rebounds. Green has started to gain confidence in his shot over the last five games where he has averaged 16 points a contest. He has turned into the clear first option off the bench, providing some consistency that the Celtics are badly in need of from their reserves. Meanwhile, the promising Brazilian guard, Leandro Barbosa, has seemingly fallen out of Rivers’ rotation.
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The second matchup between these two teams featured a role reversal of sorts. The Celtics were the team with the well-balanced attack in this game as they had eight players score at least seven points in this low scoring affair. Fifty three percent from the field for Boston was more than enough to beat the Sixers who only shot 39%. The Celtics cruised to a 92-78 victory in this encore Saturday night game.
Nobody from the Celtics saw more than the 36 minutes Rajon Rondo played as he put together another solid game with seven points, 11 assists, nine rebounds and three steals. The Sixers starters apparently ran out of gas on this back-to-back as they appear to have some real issues with their lack of depth at the moment. Their starter production shrank quite a bit and their reserves failed to pick up any of the slack as they were outscored 21 to 34 by the Boston bench. The only player for Philadelphia who didn’t slow down was Thaddeus Young who had 22 points on 15 shots but only grabbed three rebounds in 35 minutes.
Both of these teams are currently sitting at 11-9 and are tied for sixth in the eastern conference. Boston will receive a short break before taking on all three of the Texas squads this week beginning on Wednesday night against the Dallas Mavericks. The Sixers will get only one day of rest as they host the Pistons on Monday and will play the Bulls on Wednesday.