PLAYOFFS, GAME 9: RAPID REACTS

Boston Celtics 107 FinalRecap | Box Score 91 Philadelphia 76ers
Elton Brand, PF 15 MIN | 1-6 FG | 1-1 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 3 PTS | -23

As he has been too often this postseason, Brand was a non-factor.  Well, maybe non-factor is too charitable: he had an impact on the game, but it was one that favored Boston.

Andre Iguodala, SF 32 MIN | 3-6 FG | 2-3 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 10 PTS | -16

Iguodala, after starting the game promisingly with a dunk in transition, was similarly impotent in the face of the Celtics attack.  If I were a guy who was facing an aging player with an MCL that was string cheese, I would probably challenge him defensively so I could 1.) get easy points and 2.) tire him our so he was less of a threat on the other end. Iguodala looked at this situation and decided, “I think I’ll take just six shots.”  The wounded Pierce outscored him 24-10.

Spencer Hawes, C 25 MIN | 2-8 FG | 0-1 FT | 4 REB | 1 AST | 4 PTS | -13

Entering Game 3, the word on Spencer Hawes was that he had returned to his early season form.  Entering Game 4, the word on Spencer Hawes will be, can he recover from his lousy Game 3?

Evan Turner, SG 35 MIN | 1-10 FG | 2-4 FT | 8 REB | 3 AST | 4 PTS | -6

When the team you’re playing shoots 52 percent, and you take ten shots and hit just one of them, you’re not helping.

Jrue Holiday, PG 36 MIN | 5-10 FG | 2-2 FT | 6 REB | 9 AST | 15 PTS | -15

Jrue’s pretty final numbers mask the (frustrating, unfortunate) fact that he didn’t do much down the stretch.  In the final three quarters, he managed just five points on 2-of-9 shooting.

Lou Williams, PG 28 MIN | 4-10 FG | 3-3 FT | 0 REB | 4 AST | 13 PTS | -12

Lou, when things were getting out of hand – -which is to say, the second and third quarters — tried valiantly to breath some life into the Sixers.  He hit Thad Young with a well placed lob to, temporarily, shift the momentum, and did it on his own on a later possession when he took a bump and hit a leaner, then the subsequent foul shot.  Not that this made any difference.

Sam Young, SF 3 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 PTS | +3

*crickets*

Thaddeus Young, F 26 MIN | 10-16 FG | 2-2 FT | 5 REB | 1 AST | 22 PTS | -1

After averaging only 6.5 ppg in the postseason entering tonight, Thad had his first breakout.  This is the one real silver lining from a cloudy game: if that can continue to exploit favorable matchups against the Cs, the Sixers still might have a chance here.

Xavier Silas, G 2 MIN | 1-1 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 2 PTS | +3

Xavier Silas (not pictured here), evidently, was on the floor at one point.  Good for him.

Jodie Meeks, G 17 MIN | 4-9 FG | 4-4 FT | 2 REB | 1 AST | 13 PTS | -1

Meeks managed to do some damage in garbage time, turning what was a blowout into what will look, to the casual box score peruser, like just your run-of-the-mill loss,

Lavoy Allen, PF 20 MIN | 2-4 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 4 PTS | -2

After a very sound start against KG and Co, both in the game and the series, Lavoy came back down to earth a bit in the stretch run.  That’s okay.  He still looks like he belongs.

Nikola Vucevic, C 3 MIN | 0-1 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 1 PTS | +3

Good to see you out there Nic.  It had been a while.

After the Jump, Six Things We Saw

1.  Kevin Garnett was awesome. As he’s done, effectively, the entire series, the Hall-of-Famer to be decimated the Sixers tonight with long jumper after long jumper, and tenacious defense (Doug Collins must love this guy).  KG scored 23 points in the final three quarters, including 13 in the second alone, and added 13 rebounds and four assists.  According to the researchers at espn.com…Garnett has been the difference for the Celtics in this series.  With Garnett on the court, the Celtics are +47.  With Garnett off the court, they’re -31.

2.  Rajon Rondo was awesome.  With Pierce struggling early, and KG yet to flex his muscles, the young PG who’s gotten a lot of gruff for reticence in the face of open looks took over early.  He went 5-of-8 from the floor in the first quarter, scoring nearly half of the Cs points, and finished with 23 points and 14 assists.

3.  Paul Pierce was awesome.  The MCL is, apparently, not nearly as important a ligament as its been given credit for being.  Despite struggling from the floor — he started 0-for-6 and hit only six of the 17 shots he took on the night — Pierce took it to the rack with authority — he attempted 14 FTs — and grabbed 12 rebounds.  “Warrior” is a word that comes to mind.

4.  While the Celtics have a legitimate Big Three, it’s unclear if the Sixers have a Big One.  Though Thad Young had his first big offensive night of the postseason, the Sixers two highest paid veterans, and putative stars, managed just 13 points between them. Hey Iguodala and Brand: we need more guys.

5.  The second and third quarters were brutal.  After holding Boston to 24 points total in the middle quarters in Game 2, the Celts buried the 7-6 with 61 points in Q2 and Q3 tonight.

6.  While the Sixers lost in pretty much every area on Wednesday, they can cling to this: it was just one loss, no different from Game 1’s, or any of the other 35 setbacks they’ve suffered this season.  Buck up guys: there’s plenty of basketball left to be played.

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