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Game 63/82: Celtics (46-16) @ Sixers (33-31) Open Thread

Boston at Philadelphia
Wells Fargo Center
7:00 PM EST
CSNNE

Offensive Efficiency:
Boston: 105.1 points/100 possessions (13th)
Los Angeles: 104.5 points/100 possessions (15th)

Defensive Efficiency:
Boston: 97.7 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
Philadelphia: 102.2 points allowed/100 possessions (9th)

Probable Sixers starters: Jrue Holiday (PG), Jodie Meeks (SG), Andre Iguodala (SF), Elton Brand (PF), Spencer Hawes (C)

View from the Opposing Bench: Philadunkia

It’s close, but next to the Heat, the Sixers have probably provided the C’s with their most exciting games this season. Refresh yourself:

You’re looking at Atlanta in 2008, with this team. Chicago in 2009. Chicago or maybe Milwaukee in 2010. Those low-seed teams that nobody wants any part of in the first round. It’s been Boston’s privilege to match up with these teams two out of the last three years, and it may be their privilege again this year.

There are some fun statistical measures for figuring out which team is That Team. One is point differential, where Philadelphia is outscoring their opponents by two points per game, better than the Knicks and substantially better than the Hawks. But even more fun is how a team performs against the betting spread. Philadelphia is the best team in the East against the spread this season, which means that they tend to outperform expectations, which is basically what a sleeper is. In the West, the best team against the spread is Memphis, which also passes the eye test of a young, underrated squad that’s going to give some team fits in the first round.

WHAT THE SIXERS DO WELL

Finish at the rim. Like most NBA sleepers, the Sixers run on athleticism, and they have a lot of guys who can slice their way to the fakakte hoop. Thad Young and Iggy Dollar have cut up the C’s interior D both episodes earlier this season, and with all the mishegas with the Boston front line, you should see more of that tonight. The one mitzvah for the C’s tonight is that the Sixers don’t make as many attempts in the inner area as they should. They tend to take most of their shots from 10-15 feet (first in the league), and that’s objectively the wrong thing for them to be doing. Actually, that may be the biggest thing preventing the Sixers from making the leap: they’re already a superior defensive team, and they have the tools to be a lot better on offense. What if they figure it out right when the playoffs start?? Oy vey zmir!

WHAT THE SIXERS DO POORLY

Take/make threes: The Sixers have a much better grasp of their abilities from outside the arc than they used to. Doug Collins, while a gentle koala bear at the announcers’ table, is basically R. Lee Ermey as a coach, and he doesn’t want his team taking shots they can’t make. They now take the 3rd-fewest threes of any team in the league, and they’re 18th in the league at converting them.

Iguodala used to be much more of a chucker than he is now, and that’s the old Doug Collins discipline revealing itself. Iguodala is not a good three point shooter, and he probably shouldn’t even be taking the 2.7 per game he’s at now, but the trend is moving in the right direction.

PLAYERS THAT MAKE ME WORRY

Almost all of them, really. Iggy, Young, Lou Williams, Jodie Meeks, and exhumed Elton Brand can all blow up on any given night. They don’t generally synchronize their scoring outbursts, but they happen. But I’ll say Jrue Holiday. Our mutual friend Ryan DeGama laid out earlier today that Rajon Rondo is wiped, because he has virtually nobody behind him (Carlos Arroyo, supposedly brought in to spell Rondo, was playing alongside him against the Clips). Jrue Holiday was the youngest player in the league last year and thus bears with him the irrepressible optimism and energy of youth. He’s super fast, and he can shoot. He munched on Nate Robinson earlier this year, and Nate Robinson might have been a better defender than Rondo is right now.

Also his ringtone is Katy Perry’s “Firework,” and he doesn’t see anything odd or embarrassing about that at all. Ball-er. 0:32 in the video.

TBJ LA: Random Players, Random Questions from The Basketball Jones on Vimeo.

PLAYERS THAT DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY

Evan Turner. I want him to do well, and I think most of his issues are anxiety-related. One good step for him is that he’s going to the rim more, because he absolutely cannot shoot. Imagine how good the Sixers would be if Turner were better than, say, Landry Fields for example. It would also be fun to see a guy who sounds like Ray Romano become a superstar.

WHAT WE WANT TO SEE TONIGHT

The end of the Troy Murphy Countdown. A bunch of minutes for Carlos Arroyo at the point (again, that’s honestly the only purpose of his signing, is to give Rondo a rest). KG to come back from his abysmal shooting night on Wednesday. And it would be nice for this one not to require a last-second tip in.

PREDICTION

I think this one will be as close as the others. C’s 97, Sixers 95.

  • Chris O

    If the C's come out with focus, confident and collected they will win this game easy. Otherwise it will be very close.

  • Mike

    They have to come out with a purpose and not half asleep and it would be nice to not allow the other team to score 30 in the first quarter and 60 in the half. I kinda find the 76ers resembling the hawks of '08 a team that will be a pain in the you know what in the playoffs so let's win and get that first seed.

  • Batman

    Kristic with lovesque rebounding

  • Mike

    Man that offensive foul was a JOKE…..

  • Batman

    MAMMA THERE GOES THAT PIERCE

  • Mike

    Sigh…..I don't know whats worst, the defense or the offense at this point……

  • Batman

    Rondo's jumper is whet

    • someguyinsac

      Does that stand for "What-Hell-Eees-That" jumper?

  • Mike

    Oh Tony Allen where art thou?

  • ElRoz

    Well, as some writer on Celtic's hub was shooting his mouth off how Chicago is unlikely to catch Boston for the # 1 seed…..there you go, the Bulls are probably the favorite now for the #1 seed, as among other things, Bostn ahs a tough schedule and has not shown itself lately to be able to beat good teams, especially on the road.
    East #2 means facign the Sixers instead of Indiana…it also means playing w/o homecourt agaisnt Chicago, which is very good at home and not very good on the road…..and Boston has been a horrid 1-9 in the playoffs with the "big three" and Doc when needing to get win #4…2008-2010 they went 1-9…this is why regular season is important…games 6 and 7 in LA, remember?
    The starters are clearly ineffective…and running out of excuses.

    • Batman

      I don’t understand. Yes we have problems but not a doomsday like proportion like you are talking about

      • Mike

        This team is ice cold right now. Only Krstic is consistent. I don't think they scored in the last 4 minutes for example besides that KG lay up. That's the problem they can't score.

        • Ryan DeGama

          They should consider trading Perk for a "versatile scorer" like Jeff Green. That might help.

          • Nelson

            Sure…

  • kricky

    Well at least the D was good tonight. That is until the last play. Why is Pavlovic on Iguodala??? Iguodala just blew by him? Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Green's D.

    • Mike

      The D was good? a team of undersized guards and forwards was scoring at will

  • kricky

    Held them to 89 points and had a series of stops in a row at the end of the game before Iguadola blows by Pavlov. Inability to score in crunch time is what cost us.

  • Watched the video of Evan Turner and Wes Johnson, got curious, did a google search for "what's wrong with evan turner's voice" and now I feel bad that I laughed. Read this.
    http://www.kissmyblackass.org/1690/