After coming off the worst loss of the season against the Minnesota Timerwolves this week, the Sixers looked much better tonight against the start of their back to back against the Boston Celtics. Make no mistake - the Sixers weren't playing pretty basketball and quite honestly I'm not even sure how they won that game. But they did, and it was weird but exciting, and there was good, and there was bad, and there was Sixers basketball.
The Celtics started off hot tonight thanks to their offensive floor general PG Rajon Rondo. As always, he did Rondo things like pushing the ball on the break and finding his teammates for open looks. With about a minute left in the first, the C's were already up 28-22 on the Sixers and Rondo had 10 points, 9 rebounds (!?!) and 5 assists. Nothing too out of the ordinary for Rondo, but still damn impressive. He'd go on to finish with a triple double: 16 points, 14 dimes (along with 5 turnovers), and 13 rebs.
Evan Turner led a Sixers run that helped finish off the 1Q strong and tied it up at 28-28. From there, the Sixers found themselves "on the seesaw" and in a "tight fisted affair" (/Zumoff'd) for most of the rest of the game. The score was tied 17 times and there were 19 lead changes. Boston kept themselves in the game with strong performance from Rondo, Kevin Garnett (17 points, 10 rebs), Paul Pierce (27 points, 5 assists) and Jeff Green (19 points, 8 rebs). The Sixers were paced by Evan Turner (27 points, 5 assists), Jrue Holiday (15 points), Jason Richardson (15 points, 5 steals) and Thaddeus Young (17 points, 12 rebs).
At the end of the 4Q I wasn't sure if one team was trying to give the game to their opponent. Weird things happened. Things like KG missing a point blank put back layup, and Turner committing an awful turnover with ~3 seconds left to give the C's a chance to win the game. Fortunately for the Sixers, they were able to survive and make it to OT. In OT, Jrue Holiday fouled out with about 4 minutes to go and it wasn't looking great for the Sixers. With no Jrue to run the show, ET was out there running things and the offense got stagnant. Time after time the C's would miss an opportunity and the Sixers just couldn't capitalize on it because they'd come down the floor without any sense of urgency or attack. Too much standing around and wasteful dribbling led to long contested 2 pointers with barely any time on the shot clock. However, the C's were unable to take advantage of the Sixers ineptitude and allowed Evan Turner to hit a jumper that put the Sixers up 1 with 3.9 seconds left. From there, the C's inbounded the ball to KG who then passed it off to Rondo for an open jumper that he airballed because he planted awkwardly.
It was a very exciting, but weird win.
- Evan Turner's game winner. He really didn't shoot well last night (27 points, ~38% shooting) but he made the one that counted. Good on him. Also Ev was the only player to hit a 3 tonight. He was 2/3 from beyond the arc.
- Lavoy Allen's defensive presence. He didn't shut down KG by any means, but at least he didn't get destroyed by KG like we've seen happen to Hawes. Also rebounded well.
- Offensive rebounding. Thad Young himself had 8 o-rebs whereas the whole C's team combined only had 7. Coming into this game I mentioned that the C's are one of the worst rebounding teams in the league, and the Sixers sure took advantage of that outrebounding Boston on the offensive glass 17-7.
- Arnett Moultrie played! Sure, he wasn't any good... but that doesn't really matter now. Hopefully he'll improve with more minutes.
- Only 9 turnovers to Boston's 19 turnovers.
- In related news: Kwame Brown - DNP
- The Sixers inability to put the damn game away. It felt like they had so chances to just step up and put this one away, but they wasted opportunities and almost let Boston climb back into this and take it. The Sixers were fortunate not to lose this one.
- Shooting. Good grief. The Sixers shot 37.4% from the field and 18.2% from beyond. Not good enough. Evan Turner had 27 points 26 shots. Ugh. Thad had 17 on 18 shots. JRich had 13 on 13. Jrue had 15 on 18. Yuck.
- That turnover from Evan late in the 4Q. That really almost cost them the game. Give credit to a great trap by Boston, but I wish ET would have tried to throw it off the trapper's leg instead of throwing it into heavy coverage.
- Dorell Wright was 0-5 (2 points) but he didn't play as poorly as the stat sheet indicates. He got some nice open looks from deep but they just rolled out. Tough luck, but he's got to start hitting them.
- Jason Terry was terrible for the C's. His 1-12 shooting made him a complete non-factor.
- Apparently Chris Wilcox flipped off the kiss cam when it focused on him. That was the most relevant thing he did all night.
- Courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info: "This was the 1st time the Celtics have lost a regular-season game when Rajon Rondo got a triple double (now 13-1)"
- Complete 76ers vs Celtics coverage
- Boston perspective: CelticsBlog
Next: The Sixers travel up to Boston for the second game of this back to back series Saturday night.
Player of the Game: Evan Turner. Mike said it really well:
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