Tale of the Tape: Sixers vs. Celtics Game 1


As Philadelphia fans continue to ride high following the 76ers defeat of the Chicago Bulls in round one, the team is getting set for game one of their second round tilt with the Boston Celtics. The Sixers defeated the Bulls in six games to advance, while the Celtics polished off the Atlanta Hawks in six games as well. Both teams will experience quick turn arounds as they will square off tonight at 8pm in Boston.

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A betting individual would certainly pick the more experienced Celtics in this series over the Sixers but, let us not forget that many pundits still had the Sixers losing to the Bulls despite the injury to Derrick Rose in game one. No series is over til its over. So let’s take a closer look at the series as we dig a little deeper into the stats between these two teams during the regular season.

Paul Pierce and Andre Iguodala will go head to head as they attempt to lead their teams to the Eastern Conference Finals.

The Sixers led the Atlantic Division for the lion share of the regular season until Boston made a charge over the last few weeks. The Sixers were 2-1 against the Celtics during the season. The Sixers won the first matchup 103-71. They took the second as well 99-86. The Celtics were victorious the third time around winning 103-79. Each game was a blowout and it is hard to truly assess those games because each team was playing so differently when the teams met up. Now it appears that both teams are playing well.

The Sixers averaged 93.7 ppg against the Celtics compared to a season average of 93.2. The Celtics dropped 86.7 ppg against the Sixers compared to a season average of 91.3. Expect Doug Collins to stress this to his young Sixers team. If the Sixers have anything on their side, it is their young legs which will totally be capable of chasing the Celtics older players around. Expect Jrue Holiday to chase Ray Allen off screens just like he did with Rip Hamilton. That was a good warm up for him.

The Sixers averaged 43.6 rpg compared to 35.7 from the Celtics during their match ups. The Celtics shot higher percentages than the Sixers tallying a 46.8% field goal percentage and a 33.3% shooting percentage from downtown. The Sixers will be smart to continue trying to out rebound the  Celtics to keep them from getting second chance opportunities with their more than decent shooting percentages.

Doug Collins and Doc Rivers are certainly close through their Duke connections and will square off in this second round matchup.

When you breakdown the regular season numbers, this series should be a lot closer than people think. The Sixers personnel wise match up pretty well with Boston. If they defend the Celtics the way they defended Chicago they could have a chance in this series.

The biggest keys to the series for the Sixers are:

1. Defend defend defend: Boston is a streaky team that is capable of getting on long scoring runs with the shooters. Do not let them piece together long runs.

2. Make Rondo uncomfortable: Expect Doug Collins to throw a number of defenders at Rondo. Evan Turner will probably get the first assignment and Holiday and Iguodala will also get a chance to match up with Rondo at some point. Mix it up on him and double him every once in awhile. His comfort and flow are crucial to the success of the Celtics offense.

3. Don’t settle: The Sixers won a playoff series for the first time since 2003, but they have to stay hungry. If they are still riding on the high of beating the Bulls, they will get crushed.

4. Ride Iguodala: Andre Iguodala showed that he can be a leader for the Sixers down the stretch. He made smart decisions with the ball in his hands and his teammates praised his leadership in that game. Iguodala’s confidence and poise are at an all time high and the Sixers have to take advantage of that.

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