Sunday, April 8, 2012
Start Printing That Atlantic Division Champions Merchandise That Nobody Will Ever Buy
Tonight at TD Garden, I sat in the second row (right behind the courtside seats) across from Philly's bench as the Boston Celtics (32-24, 20-9 home) stomped the Sixers (29-27, 10-15 away) 103-79 in a game that didn't even feel that close.
This matchup meant plenty too since there are now only 10 games left in the regular season and Boston by virtue of the victory took a three-game lead on Philadelphia in the Atlantic Division. Boston won its seventh game in its last nine and the Sixers have dropped into a tie with the Knicks for eighth in the East.
Playing their fourth game in five nights (all against quality opponents), the C's somehow were the much fresher team by far. The Sixers looked dead in the water as they lost their fourth consecutive game. Boston outscored Philly in every quarter and they put together a smothering defense with a potent (for them these days) offensive performance of 100+ points.
The Celtics also improved to 17-7 since the All-Star break.
Kevin Garnett paced the Celtics with 20 points and six rebounds. Did I mention I sat right behind his wife and adorable daughter? Brandon Bass had 18 points and six rebounds, Avery Bradley got another start and showed he earned it with 18 points and Paul Pierce scored 17. Rajon Rondo reached double-figures in assists (15) for the 17th game in a row. Ray Allen scored 10 points off the bench and even Sasha Pavlovic (6 points, 6 rebounds) is starting to make plays which is something I never dreamed I would write.
All you need to know about the 76ers on Easter is that Nikola Vucevic (14 points, 13 rebounds) was their leading scorer and best player by far. Andre Iguodala (13 points) and Evan Turner (10 points) were the only other Philadelphia players to score in double figures.
The Celtics headed to South Beach where they'll face the Heat on Tuesday night. Boston beat Miami 91-72 on April Fool's Day, the result that really propelled talk leaguewide that perhaps the Celts are still a force to be reckoned with after all.