This Friday edition (Hence the Alison Preston pics) 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 upcoming 76ers opponents — features tonight’s opponent the Eastern Conference leading Boston Celtics.
We’re not sure what to say about tonight’s game because even if the 76ers play as well as they did against Cleveland on Wednesday night (forgetting the last 5 mins. of course), the Sixers still will not win this game. It should be noted that we held that opinion before it was announced that Iverson will not be making the trip to Beantown.
One interesting thing we will be watching tonight is how rookie Jrue Holiday does against the C’s Rojon Rondo, one of the fastest point men in the League. Jrue is bigger, plays tremendous lockdown D and has great fundamental defensive footwork, so we bet Jrue will try to get physical with Rondo and wear him down. That is if he can stay in front of the super quick Boston guard. We know Jrue will not shut down Rondo, we are just eager to see if he can hold his own.
For a little more insight into the Celtics team the Sixers face tonight, we turn to our man Zach Lowe from celticshub.com to answer two questions on the Celtics from us here at Philadunkia as well as provide us with two points of analysis on this Boston squad from an insider’s perspective. A special thanks to Zach for giving us Sixers fans a ray of hope in his points of analysis section.
Philadunkia : Obviously the C’s are red hot right now, having won 11 in a row, so can you highlight one or two things that have been keys to this W streak?
Zach Lowe@ celticshub.com : Well, the schedule has been fairly favorable. Even though the C’s have played seven of their last eight away from Boston, only one of those games has been against an opponent considered “elite” (the Spurs) and several have come against mediocre clubs. Beyond, that KG has found his offensive groove; he’s shooting about 75 percent over his last 10 games. And Rojon Rondo just continues to get better and better. During this stretch, the C’s leading scorer (Paul Pierce) has cooled off a bit, and Rondo has emerged as a more consistent scoring threat. His jumper has improved and he’s hitting more floaters and isolation lay-ups near the rim. Watching him try to pull this off against Jrue Holiday will be fun.
Philadunkia : The C’s starting lineup has been together for all 24 games so far this season. That type of consistency is a rare occurrence in the NBA and something the Sixers would know absolutely nothing about. Are you worried at all worried that the basketball gods have been too good to the Celtics starters in 2009-10 and that this run of good health among a group of aging NBA veteran bodies will end in disastrous fashion?
Zach Lowe@ celticshub.com: Every Celtics fan is worried about that, though we can take heart that Doc Rivers is managing minutes more carefully than ever before. Each of the Big Three is playing fewer minutes per game than last season, and Doc has been adamant about limiting minutes even in close games. Garnett and Ray Allen both sat for nearly 7:00 of the 4th quarter last week during a two-point win at Washington. That wasn’t happening last season.
Plus, the C’s bench has already suffered its fair share of injuries. Glen Davis broke his thumb two days before the season started, and Marquis Daniels will miss the next six weeks (at least) with a thumb injury. Maybe those injuries–plus the devastating KG knee injury last season–are enough to appease the hoops gods?
Two Points of Analysis from Zach Lowe@ celticshub.com :
1) From a Philly perspective, you guys are probably happy to hear that the C’s are arguably the worst offensive rebounding team in the league. I’m not sure why the Sixers continue to stink at protecting the defensive glass, but that shouldn’t hurt you tonight; the C’s rank 29th in the league in offensive rebounding percentage.
2) Another possible good sign for the Sixers (hey, I’m trying, right?): The C’s are still pretty sloppy with turnovers, and forcing turnovers remains one of Philly’s consistent strengths. The C’s turn the ball over on about 14.5 percent of their possessions, the 9th-worst mark in the league. That’s better than last year, but you can still count on Boston for 15 turnovers a game. Edge that number up toward 20, and Philly could have a chance.