Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Celtics Roll Over The Sixers In Game 3 Of The Eastern Conference Semifinals, Take 2-1 Lead
Boston took Philadelphia's best shot in the first quarter (33-28) and proceeded to pummel them into submission over the final three frames as the Celts won 107-91 tonight in Game 3 at the Wells Fargo Center.
In taking a 2-1 series lead and grabbing back the home-court advantage that they lost in Game 2, the Celtics led by as many as 27 points (105-78). Kevin Garnett (27 points, 13 rebounds), Paul Pierce (24 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals) and Rajon Rondo (23 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists) all surpassed 20 points in a game for the first time this season.
Michael Pietrus added 13 points off the bench but I'd be remiss if I didn't cite Boston's defense, which held Philly to 33 combined points in the second and third quarter.
Thaddeus Young (22 points) seems to be healthy now and he made his case for a starting spot in Game 4 over Elton Brand. Jrue Holiday had 15 points, nine assists and six rebounds while Andre Iguodala scored 10 points. Lou Williams and Jodie Meeks both had 13 points off the bench. The trio of Brand, Evan Turner and Spencer Hawes totaled 11 points, all together.
So is Philadelphia more like this than the gritty team they showed in Games 1 & 2? Were those close games enough to force Boston to wake up and realize that they have a very favorable road ahead of them if they can just keep winning? I guess we won't figure that out until Game 4 on Friday (8:00 p.m., ESPN). After all, the Celtics blew out the Hawks in Game 4 of the first round but then they lost by one in Game 5.
Pierce played by far his best game since Game 2 vs. the Hawks, when Rondo was suspended. He didn't even shoot well (6 for 17 from the floor) but he drove to the basket (11 of 14 on free throws) at will and threw down not one but two dunks.
Game 4 means everything because I think if Boston can win it, Philly will pack it in. Otherwise, it will be a series again. If you are a Celtics fan, you had to love their performance tonight because they were ruthlessly efficient: they never gave the Sixers any hope that they could win and they effectively took the crowd out of it.