The Boston Celtics ripped out the hearts of the Philadelphia 76ers in game three of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Fresh off a game two victory, playing in front of their home crowd, the Sixers got off to a hot start – scoring 33 points in the first quarter, after which they owned a five-point lead. But in the second and third quarters, the Celtics out-scored the Sixers, 61-33, and ended up cruising to an easy 107-91 victory.
As you guys know, I'm a big stat guy. I enjoy looking at statistics and evaluating why certain things happened at certain times. Unfortunately, I didn't need stats to tell me that the Celtics were simply the hungrier and more aggressive team on Wednesday. I hate to go all Skip Bayless, but the Celtics "wanted it more". They broke the Sixers will in the third quarter. The Sixers eventually quit.
Luckily, this ugly game counts as only one. The fact remains that the Sixers played the Celtics tough in games one and two, and have a chance to even the series in game four, Friday. It'll be interesting to see how the Sixers respond to this whopping. It'll be easy to lay down after that one.
A few observations after the jump.
- A lot of folks are raving about Thaddeus Young's game. He scored 22 points on 16 shots off the bench. Did Thad play a good game? Sure. Did he play a great game? Not really. He wasn't stellar on defense, or the glass, and a lot of his buckets game on hustle and energy plays.
- Spencer Hawes was awful. I don't know how else to put it. If you like uncoordinated attempts at defense, boxing out and rebounding, along with embarrassingly weak lay-up attempts and a perpetually confused face when his teammates look at him like "what the hell, dude", then you'd love watching Spencer Hawes play basketball.
- Evan Turner was very bad on offense. He looked lost.
- I enjoyed Jrue Holiday's game, and he continues to be a much better player in the Playoffs than the regular season. He finished with 15 points on 10 shots, three threes, six rebounds and nine assists. I love watching him attack the rim. After seeing Rondo destroy many other Sixers guards, it may be time to switch Jrue onto him permanently.
- Lavoy Allen looked well on his way to another solid game off the bench, but was limited by foul trouble most of the night. The game changed when he picked up his third foul in the second quarter and Collins was forced to go back to Spencer Hawes. Everybody loses.
- I don't understand why Nikola Vucevic doesn't get any burn. He can't be worse than Spencer Hawes. Outside of Spencer's blazing start to the season, I'd argue that Vooch out-played him during the regular season.
- Congrats to Xavier Silas for scoring his first career points in a Playoff game.
- I cannot say enough about the Celtics defense, and energy, and grittiness tonight. Their defense was phenomenal. And KG + Pierce looked like men on a mission. Mission accomplished.