This edition of “Fo’ with the Foes” – Philadunkia’s advanced scouting series which with the help of an accomplished journalist from around the NBA beat or blog world, previews key upcoming 76ers games – features tonight’s opponent, the Boston Celtics who have lost six straight and took their worst beating of the season (26-point loss to Wizards) on Wednesday night, but boast the lovely Maria Menounos (pic at left) as their #1 fan.
After the jump, I’ll look a Fo’ key items for tonight’s game. Additionally, we’ll get a little more insight into this Boston team (23-52) the Sixers face tonight from our colleague Kwapt B at red’sarmy.com, as Kwapt B will answer Fo’ questions on his Celtics squad from us here at Philadunkia.
Here are Fo’ key items I will be watching for tonight…
1) Quick Start: The 76ers looked disinterested the other night against the Bobcats and the result was a slow 1st Q, a terrible 2nd Q and a 24-point halftime deficit. Obviously I want the Sixers to play competitive basketball all night, so in order to foster that idea early in the game, I will be looking to see some energetic play, good looks at the hoop and solid fundamentals from this roster.
2) MCW vs. Rondo: MCW is playing fairly well right now. In his last 3 games Carter-Williams owns a shine of 19.6 ppg; 7.6 rpg. and 5.3 apg. Over the 3-game stretch he is shooting the ball at a 49.5% clip from the field and owns a TS% of 59.7. He had only 1 turnover the other night and is averaging just 2.6 per in the last 3 contests. What kind of impact will the ultra quick Rondo have on MCW’s offensive game tonight? Also, Can MCW provide any resistance on Rondo at the other end?
3) Thad: #21 did not play well vs. Charlotte on Wednesday night. In fact, Thad was downright awful. However, he is averaging 19.3 points and shooting 51.5 percent in his last four games against Boston. Brown should get the ball to Thad early and often in this one in order to get his best player back on track.
4) Who Wants It More?: Both of these teams are, well, not good. The 76ers have lost 28 of their last 29. The Celtics have dropped 6 straight and 11 of their last 12. Each team has 7 games remaining in their lost season and the tendency would be to mail in this garbage run. Whichever team shows some pride and plays hard for a couple of quarters will win this game. I wouldn’t mind if that team was the 76ers.
Q&A with Kwapt B at red’sarmy.com:
Philadunkia: The C’s have lost 6 straight. What have been some of the issues of late?
Kwapt B at red’sarmy.com: When Rondo is on the floor this team can be decent offensively. Without him, they can be downright awful. Couple that with some poor defense, an oft injured Avery Bradley, them getting a little too comfy with the three ball & you’ve got some “issues”.
Philadunkia: In 4 of his last 5 games, Jeff Green a career 44% shooter, has hit 35% from the field or below. Can you out your finger on what is behind Green’s struggles?
Kwapt B at red’sarmy.com: That my friend has been the very same question Celtics fans have had for the last few years. Why the inconsistency? Why 40 pts one night & 6 the next? No one knows for sure, but my guess is that it’s all in his head. Granted, he’s had a lot of pressure on him since Pierce left, but his struggles have gotten much worse since March. Will be interesting to see where he fits in after the anticipated major changes coming this summer.
Philadunkia: The Celtics recently came in at #4 on ESPN’s ranking of the top ownership groups in the league. What was your reaction to the rankings and the Celtics positioning?
Kwapt B at red’sarmy.com: I honestly haven’t read the piece but I am completely satisfied w/the job Grousbeck, Pagliuca & Ainge have done. Trading Pierce & Garnett must’ve been extremely difficult for Ainge and he put himself in the cross-hairs of Celtics fans’ sniper rifles. Between that deal & a few others, he has stockpiled an impressive array of future draft picks.
Philadunkia: Give me one 2014 NBA Draft prospect you really like for the Celtics at their projected #5 spot.
Kwapt B at red’sarmy.com: If the Parkers, Embids & Wiggins of the world are gone, Aaron Gordon or Julius Randle would be my guys. Randle brings straight up beasting and is/was a double double machine at UK, and I love Gordon’s athleticism. He & Rondo would make a sweet alley-oop tandem. Gordon’s ball handling skills are very underrated as well.
Thanks to Kwapt B for his time and answers.
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