The Sixers played a lot better in this one, and we'll talk about some of the good Sixer performances, but really, Philly was able to win this game because of three things, all Boston-related: Brandon Bass couldn't make a shot, Ray Allen is off his game, and Rajon Rondo is a weird dude. The first two are easily explained—Bass had probably the best game he's ever going to have in the playoffs in Game Five, scoring 18 points in the third quarter, and was probably due for a clunker like this. Meanwhile, Allen has been dealing with injury the entire playoffs, and while his 4-11 line isn't awful, he missed a couple key good looks (including a three with a minute to go) that you feel like Ray Allen at 100% hits at least 90% of the time.
Rondo, though…man. You get why rooting for this guy can be so frustrating an experience, because his talent is so blinding that like few players short of LeBron James, when he's on his game, you wonder how you can ever beat him. But when he's not engaged, which seems to happen every now and then for no particular reason, you get games like tonight, where he refuses to attack the basket, misses jumpers and free throws, and makes careless turnovers (like the one in the final minutes where he lost an easy rebound out of bounds), without even seeming to care all that much. Dude's an enigma for sure, but he generally has way more games like Game Five than like the one he had tonight, and you'd expect him to bounce back for Game Seven on Saturday. This was certainly an opportune time for him to have a stinker, though, and we'll take what we can get.
Welcome to our world, Philly.