Tonight marks Game One of the Sixers and Celtics series. If you're confused as to why there is a second round, Wikipedia should have some information about the NBA Playoffs outside of the first round of play. I don't really understand it either, this being the first time our Sixers have got to the second round since 2003, when I lost my 9th grade vice presidency campaign (Vote Mike for Vice Pez - I handed out Pez, not sure why that didn't work...)
So we went around our little internet table to see what we thought of the impending Boston series.
1. How can the Sixers win this series?
Dave: Well, the easy answer is to score more. The Sixers put up just 86/per in the Bulls series, and if you throw out Game 2, that number dips down to 81.4. They have to create turnovers and push the ball. They have to get easy baskets in transition. The Sixers half-court offense is an eye sore right now, and I don’t expect that to change with a stout Boston defense on deck. The Sixers must also hold serve at home. I just can’t see them winning more than one game in Boston. We need to break out the confetti three times.
Jordan: Their defense is going to have to remain stellar. Someone's going to need to stop KG with some regularity. And the offense will have to be somewhat coherent. Need someone besides Jrue and .... Spencer Hawes, to score.
Tanner: The Sixers can win this series by defending the hell out of the Celtics and very importantly getting out in transition either off live-ball turnovers or rebounds. If they get stuck having to run a half court offense too regularly, I don't think a series win would be too likely. Utilize the youth and get out in the open court as much as possible.
Derek: Broken bones and sprained ligaments.
Mike: Short of more ACL tears, I think it's all about pushing the basketball. Boston's not great in transition, as Jordan told us, and the Sixers are at the apex of half court futility. They don't have the skill to attack from the half court, and with Jodie Meeks not making much of a difference, floor spacing is out the window. Just push the ball and hope for good things.
2. Who on the Celtics scares you the most?
Jordan: Kevin Garnett. And Avery Bradley, defensively.
Tanner: Rajon Rondo. If he's in his zone, everybody else follows.
Mike: Greg Stiemsma and Avery Bradley. I've been having nightmares about them shutting down the entire Sixers offense, while having "hey look at that!" offensive games themselves. Bradley could possibly shut down Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday simultaneously, and Stiemsma will average 8 blocks per game. Thad might not get a shot off the whole series.
Dave: Um, Brandon Bass? He hasn’t been guarded since ’97. I’m running out of ways to tell people that Brandon Bass does nothing but shoot wide open fifteen footers. Seriously. I’m not that creative. Brandon Bass will be wide open all series and that’s just the way it is. But aside from Bass, I’ll go with Rajon Rondo. Sure, his game has flaws, but he’s really, really talented. If he’s living in the lane and drawing defenders, we could be perusing the internet for mock drafts by the end of next week. I certainly think Holliday is a capable defender, but CJ Watson and John Lucas III, Rajon Rondo is not. I can live with Paul Pierce’s contested jumpers, but I don’t want Rajon anywhere near the basket.
My dream is to watch Rondo awkwardly shooting sixteen footers for the next two weeks. Here’s hoping anyway.
3. Which Sixer will have the best series?
Dave did not answer this question. That feels ominous.
Tanner: Spen…..I'm just playin! I'll go with the Bear.
Mike: This feels like a very Elton Brand series. A bunch of young kids, and Sugar Bear's the one to take us home. If Thad can get around the massive meat hooks of Big Show AKA Greg Stiemsma, maybe he'll avenge his absence from the Bulls series. As always though, hoping it's Evan and Jrue.
Jordan: I think Sugar Bear has a huge series.
Derek: I'm going to homer this one and go with Turner.
4. Will we see HAHAHAWES or Wight Howard?
Tanner: Hawful. Might see flashes of Wight for one game.
Derek: Hahawes. Although I'm guessing KG will defend Brand, so that should help.
Dave: A maddening mixture of both. Spencer Hawes is trolling us all. He’s a world beater. He’s injured. He’s terrible. He’s dominating. He’s terrible again. He was spotted at Delilah’s. Hawes will have some terrific 15/8/and 7 game (Game 3 perhaps?), and then follow that up with 34 of the most frustrating minutes of basketball this side of Willie Green.
Jordan: Spencer Hawes sucks.
Mike: Wight, just to spite me. He'll play like ass but rack up the most worthless 18 and 12 I've ever seen. I'll keep using caps lock and there's nothing he can do about it.
5. Prediction?! (Pain.)
Derek: Celtics in 5. Winning team scores < 80 points 4 of the 5 games.
Tanner: Celtics in 5.
Mike: I have no idea. But in the interest of player intros and exclamation points, I'll happy dance my way to Sixers in 6. Screw it. Screw everything. Eastern Conference Finals. What the crap.
Jordan: Celtics in 5 or 6, but all the games down to the wire.
Dave: I can’t fathom – I can’t possibly wrap my head around the notion that Sixers will appear in the Eastern Conference Finals. Now, I think Boston is beatable. I think they have their own scoring woes of their own. But they’re obviously the better, more talented team. Ah, eff it. I’m a hopeless romantic. Sixers in 6.
Put your own predictions in in the comments!