Sixers beat Celtics 98-97
I know, right? Consider that we hadn't beaten a winning team all season, Boston was tied for the best record in the league, and riding an 11 game winning streak, my "we won't win" prediction before the game seemed like a safe bet. But how about a little reverse psychology?
AI was a scratch with some left knee pain, so we got a healthy dose of Jrue, which is what I wanted. Unfortunately we also got an unhealthy dose of Willie Green. A 45 minute cot damn dose! Much too much.
By now you know the last few plays but I'll relay them anyway. With 23 seconds left down 1, Mo Speights was the go to guy and, guarded by Kendrick Perkins, he took an off-balance up and under from about 10 feet out in an attempt to draw the foul. The whistles were silent and his shot clanged off the rim. Elton Brand (more on him later) had perfect (and I mean perfect!) position on Paul Pierce down low after a switch and was able to go up for the tip in with 7 seconds left to put your 76ers ahead by a point. Pierce got the ball defended by 'Dre, who slipped a bit on Pierce's step back jumper that clanged off the back rim. Ray Allen got the floor board with 2 seconds left, turned around and fired up a makeable shot, but another Ray-Ray dagger was not to be.
Now let's get to some bullet point observations, since you idiots love simplicity (just kiddinggggggg)
- Elton Brand was a stud tonight. He worked, flashed a nice jumper from up to 14 feet out, and got his meat-and-potatoes-four-pump-fakes-in-the-lane-put-backs, trademarked to EB himself. 23 and 8 off the bench in only 26 minutes is as quality as it gets. While he should without a doubt be a starter, if Jordan pulls Dalembert after 3 minutes, it's not that much of a difference.
- Before I say anything more about Mo, I have to continue to hammer home the point that it was completely unnecessary to bring him back this early. What's the benefit? We win one game against a good basketball team and continue towards perennial mediocrity? Wait until he is completely healthy, then play the kid. ANYWAY, he played aggressively tonight and that's good to see. His rebounding has absolutely improved, and while his defense is still a step or two behind, I'm optimistic about it coming around. He had a couple ill-advised shots early in the clock and needs to work on his ball-handling (two strong dribbles max, plz), I appreciate taking the ball to the basket and it was super cool watching him get the ball at the end of the game, even if he didn't sink it.
- I can't emphasize enough how Rasheed Wallace's ejection affected this game. He kills us, and adds another dimension to this Celtics team that makes them virtually unbeatable, even if it's just as a decoy. His early exit gave us an opening that we took advantage of during crunch time.
- We won the third quarter! yayayayayayayaya
- Hey, they only shot 5-15 from beyond the arc! There were too many open looks though, don't expect this to continue. On a related note, every time Ray Allen takes a shot, I look away and wait for the swish. I'm pretty sure I've never seen him miss (hyperbole).
- In this game, the best lineup Jordan put on the floor was Jrue-Willie-Iguodala-Thad-Brand
Jason Kapono is atrocious at basketball.
- How many loose balls a game does Sam lose with his rock hands and awful reaction time?
- Willie couldn't keep up with Allen, but offensively he wasn't horrendous.
- Jrue with another game filled with positives and rookie mistakes. He had a couple really nice passes inside to Brand and Thad. The mistakes are to be expected. I just love that he's getting playing time against some legitimate competition. He's earned minutes when Lou and AI are healthy. Whether he gets them or not remains to be seen.
- Clutch free throws from Speights and Iguodala at the end
- Speaking of Dre, he played his game. Didn't force too much when his shot wasn't falling, battled on defense, got ballsy at the end when he had to step up, and celebrated with some angry man faces. When other guys step up offensively, Andre can focus on setting up other guys and working on D, making us a better team.
- Big ups to JSams who popped his NBA cherry at TD Garden tonight. A long time coming, my friend. Good first game, I'd lower my expectations for the rest of your game-watching life.
This was a fun game and a great comeback win for a group of guys that lost too many of these close ones in the past few weeks. It's not a season changer, it's not a turning point, and it's certainly not an indication that we're in any way better than the Boston Celtics. I like seeing improvement from the young guys, and cohesiveness of Elton Brand's involvement in the offense (what the offense is I'm not sure). Anything else is gravy. We've always known this team has plenty of talent in various areas, but the fact remains that until we get some consistency with the coaching philosophy and rotations, we won't be playing as a team, especially on the defensive end.
Get some rest kids, we're doing this again tomorrow vs. the Clip Joint at 7. Another winning streak? Pshyah!
Player of the Game (POG) - Elton Brand