Game 1 – Tonight at Boston 8 p.m.
Game 2 – Mon at Boston 7 p.m.
Game 3 – Wed at Philadelphia 7 p.m.
Game 4 – Fri at Philadelphia TBD
Game 5 * Mon May 21 at Boston TBD
Game 6 * Wed May 23 at Philadelphia TBD
Game 7 * Sat May 26 at Boston TBD
The Celtics and Sixers last met in the playoffs in 2002. The Celtics won the then 5-game series with a Game 5 blowout in which Paul Pierce had 46 points, Antoine Walker had 26.
The Celtics lost the season series with Philly this year, 2-1, with each game being a blowout
Get it to: Kevin Garnett
Keep the roll going in this series by letting KG do his thing against Spencer Hawes. Hawes has been playing well, but he's too slow to keep up with KG. This time around, Garnett will be much more of a spot up guy… using his quickness to his advantage and dusting Hawes out on the perimeter. Exploit. This. Matchup!
Gotta stop: Philly's fast break
The Celtics have to do two things they haven't exactly been known for this season: take care of the ball and rebound. During the Hawks series, however, the Celtics were much better in these weak areas. They were 7th of the 16 playoff teams in turnover percentage and 5th in defensive rebound percentage. All things considered, that's an improvement.
Philadelphia lacks a Paul Pierce-type "go to" guy, which hurts their half court offense. Some days it will be Lou Williams stepping up… others it will be Andre Iguodala… and every day each guy thinks its him. Stop the Philly fast break and you'll see a disjointed offense that will struggle to score.
The Wild Card: The injuries
How will Ray Allen's ankle hold up? How will Paul Pierce's knee hold up? What about Greg Stiemsma's foot, Mickael Pietrus hamstring?
The list goes on and on. If Ray and Pierce are significantly limited, then the Celtics will have problems… which may be the most obvious statement anyone could make. Still, that's how it is. If Pierce can get through the series without making the knee worse and Ray can suck it up and be effective, then this series might not last very long.
How we see it goin' down
There was a reason Philly collapsed in the regular season. They lack a true leader, which means different guys who shouldn't be leaders are vying to become one. That's a bit of an oversimplification, but that's still true.
This is playoff basketball, where fast breaks go to die. If you can't win in the half court and execute a well-defined, well thought out plan, then you're going nowhere. The Celtics have the experience and the coaching to get the job done. If the team was healthy, I'd call this a sweep. But because they're not, and because the Celtics just seem to love making things harder on themselves, I'm going to say Celtics in 5.
I originally said 6, but then I can't get past the two-days off before playing Game 5 at home. I'll say the C's win both home games, drop game 3, then finish Philly off.