at Boston Celtics (7-4, 3-2) at Philadelphia 76ers (6-5,2-3)
Wednesday, March 23
8:00 PM ET
Playoff Game #12 Road Game #6
TV: ESPN, TSN
Radio: WEEI, 97.5 The Fanatic
Wells Fargo CenterProbable Starters PG: Rajon Rondo..................................................SG Avery Bradley C: Kevin Garnett SF: Paul Pierce ................................. ............PF Brandon Bass Coach:
Doc RiversCeltics Reserves
Sean Williams Injured
Paul Pierce (knee) probable
Avery Bradley (shoulder) Game time decision
Ray Allen (ankle) probable
Greg Stiemsma (feet) probable
Mickael Pietrus (hamstring) probable Probable Starters
PG: Jrue Holiday ......................................................SG: Evan Turner
C: Spencer Hawes
SF: Andre Iguodala .................................................. PF: Elton Brand Sixers Bench
None Key Matchups
Paul Pierce vs Andre Iguodala
Both of these players have been up and down in this series. Iguodala has hit some big shots but at other times has struggled. In game 3, Pierce set the pace for the Celtics to get a big win and other times he has struggled with his shot and defense. The Celtics need Pierce to be aggressive in this game to get the win.
Rajon Rondo vs Jrue Holiday
Rondo controlled the pace of game 5 and ran the Celtics offense to perfection in the second half. The Celtics need Rondo to be aggressive from start to finish if they hope to win this game. Rondo must control the pace of the game and has to run the Celtics offense and get them going. .
Kevin Garnett vs Spencer Hawes/Lavoy Allen
KG has been able to score around and over Hawes but has been bothered at times by Allen's defense. KG needs to be aggressive in the paint to try to get Allen to make rookie mistakes and get into foul trouble.
Brandon Bass vs Elton Brand
Bass came alive in game 5 and simply took over the game in the third period, single handedly outscoring the Sixers by himself in the quarter. Brand also had a big game but nowhere near the game that Bass had. Hopefully that will give him confidence going into this game and he will have another big game. The Celtics need it. Keys to the Game Defense
- As always, defense is key to getting the win. The Celtics must play tough in your face defense from start to finish. They can't let themselves get caught up in a shoot out (especially when their shots aren't falling) and must concentrate on getting stops. In the two easy wins the Celtics have had in the series, their defense was the key. Rebound
- When the Celtics are out-rebounded they lose and when they win the battle of the boards, they win. It's as simple as that. Much of rebounding is effort and desire and when the Celtics play harder and want it more, the effort on the boards translates to the rest of their game. the Celtics simply must aggressively go after every rebound if they want to win this game. Run the Offense
- When the Celtics move the ball and find the open man, the look really good on offense. When they try to do too much individually the offense gets stagnant and they go through offensive droughts. The Celtics must play as a team and trust each other. Rondo will be a big factor in this as he must set the pace and set up his teammates for open shots. Effort and Focus
- In the first two games it seemed as though the Celtics didn't get serious about playing until the final stretch. They made sloppy passes. Shot terribly. Didn't fight for rebounds and just generally looked sloppy and too laid back. In game 4, they went back to that same sloppy style of play in the second half. In games 3 and 5 they played focused and gave a good team effort and got big wins. They have to keep their focus in this one and not lapse back into sloppy play. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics have to be more aggressive in going after rebounds, going after loose balls, and driving to the basket, especially if their shots aren't falling once again. They also have to be more aggressive on defense. The team that is more aggressive has been the team that gets the win. The Celtics have to be aggressive from start to finish and go out and take this game because the Sixers definitely aren't going to give it to them. Game Notes
The series moves once again to the Wells Fargo Center. The Celtics won one big game in Philly and played a great half in another. They have a chance to close out this series now and get some rest before the next series. The Sixers are playing for their playoff lives and if the Celtics want to win this game, they have to match that effort and intensity.
Injuries are still the topic of conversation for the Celtics. Avery Bradley missed game 5 and will be a game time decision for this game. Ray Allen stepped back into the starting lineup but clearly isn't 100% and has been playing through pain. Paul Pierce is still struggling with the sprained MCL and has been up and down in the series. All of them need to somehow play through the pain one more time and they will get a little rest.
The Sixers are going to be a desperate team and will put it all out there in this game. The Celtics can't afford to settle in this game. They have to remember ubuntu and they have to play with passion and the same desperation that the Sixers play with.
We haven't heard about ubuntu for awhile but they brought back that concept after halftime of game 5 and it gave the Celtics the boost they needed to get the win. It would be very good for them to remember ubuntu in this game as well. Teamwork and playing for each other is a great concept and it works!!
They have to be more focused, especially on the road. The Celtics are capable of winning in Philly. They proved that in game 3. The Sixers are a very dangerous team because they have nothing to lose and are playing with a lot of heart. The Celtics need to close this series out with a win in this game. They don't want to let the series go to a 7th game because you never know what can happen. X-Factors
Injuries, Focus and Officiating
Injuries have been affecting the Celtics. Can Pierce overcome the knee injury to have another big game? Can Bradley be effective with the shoulder if he's even able to play? Can Ray continue to play through the pain and be effective?
The Celtics have proved that when they are focused and playing aggressively, they are the better team. Will they be focused or once again have one of their inexplicable let downs?
As we have seen in previous games, officiating can rear its ugly head and affect the outcome of the game. Will the Celtics get calls in this one? They are on the road and the calls will naturally go to the home team. The Celtics have to play through calls that go against them and just play harder to get the win.