Just as we did earlier this season, Jeff Clark from Celtics Blog and I exchanged a few emails about the Sixers and Celtics game. Unlike earlier this season, THIS ONE COUNTS! Right Bud Selig? Yeah. On that cross-sport reference, we'll jump right to the emails.
Gametime in two hours!
Michael Levin: So what do we think? How are you guys holding up post-Indiana series? Give me a sense of where the team is right now on a scale of 1 to Iguodala.
Jeff Clark: Post-Indiana series? Well, let's see, a lot has happened since 2005. The team bottoming out, losing out on the Durant/Oden sweepstakes, the KG/Ray trades, the championship, ... oh wait. You must be talking about the Atlanta series. I guess I can excuse the mix up since you had your own games to focus on. Thanks for taking out the Bulls by the way. The Boozer face was priceless.
Well, Pierce has a "strained MCL" and has been productive most days but sometimes looks a step short without a lot of lift. Ray Allen's bone spurred ankles continue to bother him - I think at this point it is just a matter of playing through pain when he can. He clearly wasn't 100% as evidenced by his woeful free throw shooting. Kevin Garnett has had hip flexor issues off and on all year and who knows what else that he's not telling us about. Oh, and Avery Bradley has a bruised rotator cuff, whatever that is and Greg Stiemsma has plantar fasciitis. But other than that, everyone is healthy as a peach. I guess.
How U. (subtle lockout joke made un-subtle by this explanation)
Michael Levin: Oh God I'm still drunk from last night aren't I? Well. Yes. Atlanta then. Ahem. Boozerface indeed.
The Sixers will only win series by imploring their secret ninjas to injure your one or two best players. Pierce and KG seem to be the winners in that sweepstakes. How's that sound to you!?
Iguodala's hurting with some chronic Achilles pain, Lou's got some back soreness, and Tony Battie is a paraplegic. But they're mostly good. Not talent-wise, but person-wise, they're alright. I'm really worried about Stiemsma and Bradley. Is that weird? Against the Celtics, those two are the ones that I'm most scared of. Stiemsma will punk Thad and Hawes inside, and he's good enough off the ball to give Turner and Jrue trouble on their drives also. Bradley's a stud. I love him. Give him to me.
Who you scared of for us? The Ghost of Hip-Hop perhaps? Mutual Rodney Rogersness? You guys still have Walter McCarty, yeah?
Jeff Clark: Oddly enough Stiemsma has recently lost his minutes to Ryan Hollins. For those unfamiliar with him (and I was up until a month or so ago), he's a lot like Kevin Garnett, except with about 10% of his talent, and that might be generous. He fancies himself an instigator, so that should be interesting to watch.
Nobody scares me on the Sixers and so clearly everyone scares me on the Sixers. Because if nobody scares me, then nobody scares the Celtics and the Celtics do their best work when they feel challenged or with their backs up against the proverbial wall. They do their worst work when the feel like they can walk into the stadium, slap their swagger on the bar, and order up a win with their grain alcohol.
So basically, the best thing your boys can do is walk onto the court with wide eyes and say "please don't hurt us" to everyone in the starting five and run away screaming from Kevin Garnett. Then turn around and run the ball down our throats. You know, after you unleash the ninjas.
So, I heard a rumor that you guys can't rebound any better than we can. Don't you have a young 7 footer, Iggy Stat Stuffer, and the zombie version of Elton Brand? What gives?
Michael Levin: I don't buy it. Stiemsma gives me nightmares upon nightmares. Hollins is, every time I've seen him, terrible. I think this is a ploy for you to make me forget about The Big White North so he ends up dominating the Sixers. Not falling for it Jeff. Not one bit.
That's good on your scare tactics. You can't tell me you're not afraid of Tony Battie. Dude is vicious in the post. His arsenal has an arsenal. Anyway yeah, no one to be terrified about, but we're like Velociraptors. While you're staring one down, two will come from the side and cut out your belly. Sam Neill style.
The Sixers actually are one of the better defensive rebounding teams in the league. It doesn't feel like it at times, but that's what the numbers say. Evan had the best rebounding season for a wing of all time, and Andre (when his Achilles isn't throbbing) pulls down good board numbers as well. Elton's gonna surprise some people. In a Young vs. Old matchup, it's gonna be Sugar Bear (Brand's nickname) that has a few games for the youngins.
How's Brandon Bass's 15 footer? Still the slowest release ever but impossible to stop? Great. Also, let's have a prediction, just for the heck of it.
Jeff Clark: Yes, Bass is still hitting 15 footers, but overall he struggled a lot in the Atlanta series. I don't know if it was the athletic forwards or some mystery injury or just a common slump but he didn't look himself. Hopefully he'll figure it out and match up better with the more earthbound Brand.
I'm going to say Celtics in 6 because I think Philly has the defensive chops and running game to take a couple of games. Overall, however, I do like our chances.
Michael Levin: Bass/Stiemsma/Bradley are the threesome that scare me. Rondo/Pierce/Garnett? Psh. No problem.
The Sixers are such an enigma. They could D up and hit shots like they did the first half of the season, or they could curl up into a fetal position and suck their thumbs like in the second half. My gut tells me that because of all the crap I've talked about the Sixers the whole season, they're going to win this series to spite me. I have the Sixers in 6. Wah.