Tip: 7:00pm Court: Wells Fargo Center Watch it: CSN Hear it: WEEI
The Celtics and Philly played some REALLY ugly ball but the C's pulled out an 84-80 win. Ray had a big game (20 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists) and Shaq added 13 and 9. Andre Iguodala was terrible… shooting 2-11 and finishing with 9 points, 4 assists and 2 rebounds.
Get it to: Ray Allen
Ray scored 23 and 22 points in the two games against Philly this year. He's also been blistering from behind the line lately. Let's just work our way backwards from the Clips game and look at what he's shooting from 3: 3-7, 2-3, 5-8, 4-6, 5-8. Ray's on. Feed the hot hand.
Gotta stop: Thaddeus Young
He's coming off an 18 point, 9 rebound game against Indy. He's been averaging almost 17 ppg over his last 10. Post- All Star break, he's averaging almost 16 points while shooting 60% all off the bench. We know the C's bench is thin and full of newbies. The starters have been playing poorly defensively lately, but I'm more confident in those guys picking it up. The bench, however? Let's say I'm less confident. Young has the ability, especially considering how he's been playing lately, to carve the C's up off the bench.
Wild Card: Carlos Arroyo
Arroyo stepped up and held his own in limited time in his debut. If he can step up and bring some stability to that second unit, then that offense will flow a little better, leading to fewer mistakes, leading to fewer opportunities for Philly to get out on the break. One HUGE way for that second unit to get better defensively is to actually execute and score offensively, giving themselves time to set up and pick up their men.
How we see it goin' down:
I know we want to see the Celtics come out and lay some wood on the Sixers so we can wash the taste of a bad loss to the Clippers out of our mouths, but I don't see it happening. (A) Philly is on a roll. Only the Bulls have had a better record than them in the East since January 21. (B) They're good at home. That 21-11 record was not a typo. (C) They've played the C's well… losing by a combined five points in the two games (remember the alley oop?). And (D) The C's are still in too much flux with their second unit. I suppose I can add (E) Philly wants to make a statement since it's entirely possible the C's could slip to the 2 seed and face Philly in a 2-7 matchup… which would make this a playoff preview.
The Celtics are pissed about how they looked against the Clips and they want to rectify that. They probably don't like Danny Ainge throwing around terms like "wake up call" too much so they'll probably play well to start. The bench still is what it is and is just flat out not capable of holding a lead yet. Look for yet another hard fought game that will go down to the wire. Look for more bench minutes and odd lineups from Doc. But look for Ray to come up big again from downtown and KG to regain his shooting touch… and for the C's to eek out another extremely tight single-digit win.