This Friday, how many points will we lose by tonight 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 upcoming 76ers opponents — features tonight’s opponents the aging, but still very good Boston Celtics and of course the lovely Alison Preston.
Are you old enough to remember when the Celtics at 76ers on a Friday night in March was something really big? Some of us here at Phildaunkia are old enough to remember the days when a nasty rivalry existed between these two franchises and we miss it. Back in those days, a Friday night game against the visiting Celtics would have been the only thing people in this in town would be talking about and the Spectrum would have been standing room only. Sadly, in 2010 a visit by the Celtics does not garner a whiff of interest from sports fans here in Philly and there are plenty of seats available for tonight’s game down at the Wachovia Center. Everyone in this sports crazy city is significantly more focused on the Phillies spring training games or the Eagles free agent moves. To be honest, we can’t blame the Philly sports fan for not caring about the 76ers, as the Sixers (22-38) have been horrific to watch lately and they are an NBA team that lacks direction in every aspect of the game.
It’s not going to get any better tonight with Boston in town either, as this game is a brutal mismatch. Boston will be looking for its League best 22nd road win tonight. The Sixers are the third worst home team in the NBA. Philadunkia’s home team has lost four straight, the last two by an average of 20 points, while the C’s have won two straight and 6 of 9. The Sixers are ranked 24th in the League in scoring at 97.6 ppg., which is not helpful when you are facing Boston, the #1 ranked defensive team in the NBA (94 ppg. by opponents). The Celtics boast stars like KG, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo. The Sixers, well we have Iguodala, Louis and Willie G. The C’s are intense and focused as they are fine tuning their game for a big playoff push. Philadunkia’s home team, to be honest, based on their last two on-the-court efforts, we’d say they’ve mailed it in for 2009-10. Alright, you get the point. This isn’t going to be fun tonight. So let’s move on.
For a little more insight into the Celtics team the Sixers face tonight, we turn to our man Brian Robb from celticshub.com to answer two questions on the Celtics from us here at Philadunkiaas well as provide us with two points of analysis on this Boston squad from an insider’s perspective.
Philadunkia : Many “experts” are claiming that the window of opportunity has closed on the “aging” Celtics. So where do you stand on how the team has played recently and their chances of making an NBA title run??
Brian Robb @ celticshub.com : The experts have a right to be skeptical about this team, given the way it has played lately. There have been injuries, and other major bumps in the road in the last 2 years, but the Celtics have not looked so vulnerable and uninspired for prolonged stretches on the floor. They have been a different team offensively in the 2nd half of games and have failed to respond to adversity well in crucial games against elite opponents. All that said, the window of opportunity has not closed on this team completely. You can’t do that to a team that has the 2nd best road record in the league right now that has won in Cleveland, LA and Orlando. When everything is going right, this team can still compete with any team on any given night, but their margin of error this year is smaller than ever given their age and injury issues. After hitting rock bottom against NJ last week, the team has shown signs of righting the ship with a nice blowout of Charlotte on Wednesday. Thankfully, there is still time for them to put all the pieces back together, whether they will though is anyone’s guess due to their consistent inconsistencies.
Philadunkia : We thought the addition of Michael Finley was a solid move by the C’s. What’s your opinion?
Brian Robb @ celticshub.com: I’m with you on Michael Finley. Definitely in the category of might help but can’t hurt category. Finley gives the C’s bench another shooter at the 2/3 spot, something this team could surely use given the limited/non-existant range of Tony Allen and Marquis Daniels. Finley is old, but also has great playoff experience and by all accounts is a good locker room guy. If he has something left, great, if not, Doc doesn’t need to run him out there. The threat of his outside shooting will help the bench spread the floor more though, given the unit’s 3 shooters, without having to put Paul Pierce or Ray Allen out there with them.
1) Lots of talk has been about how the C’s defense has fallen off this year. That may be true lately, but their main problem this year has been on offense, as they haveregressed to a mediocre ranking in offensive effienecy. The cause for that decline? A major factor is 3 point shooting. The team ranks 18th in the league in that category, after coming in 2nd last year. Thanks Rasheed Wallace!
2) Glen Davis is getting over 30 percent of his layups blocked down low. Makes me fear to see how many Samuel Dalembert will be able to swat away tonight.