Monday, May 14, 2012
Unlike Game 1, Celtics Can't Close Out Sixers, Philly Wins Game 2 82-81
The Boston Celtics were lucky enough to win Game 1 (92-91) of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Saturday night but the Philadelphia 76ers got what they came for-the split-as they took Game 2 82-81 this evening at TD Garden.
The truth of the matter is that Boston could easily be up 2-0 in this series or also down 0-2 so it is fair that both teams captured one game since they've been virtually even through the first two contests.
Let's be honest as well that this wasn't your garden variety one-point win, it was basically a four or five-point win since Ray Allen (17 points) hit a 3-pointer with three seconds left and Kevin Garnett (15 points, 12 rebounds) hit a 3-pointer as time expired. Give Philly credit as Evan Turner (10 points, 6 rebounds), Lou Williams (8 points, 7 rebounds) and Jodie Meeks all made a pair of free throws with 12 seconds or less remaining in regulation. For that alone, Philly already proved to be superior to the Hawks.
Boston lost Game 2 in the second and third quarters where they combined for 24 points (13 in the second, 11 in the third). Philadelphia had 36 in that time frame (15 in the second, 21 in the third) which by comparison looks like a Harlem Globetrotters type output. It's astonishing that the C's made it that close, particularly when they hit seven free throws for the entire game and turned the ball over 19 times. Did I mention that the Sixers grabbed 11 more rebounds (47-36)? Weirdest and ugliest Celtics playoff game in a long time.
Jrue Holiday led Philadelphia with a game-high 18 points. Andre Iguodala had 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds while Spencer Hawes notched eight points and 10 rebounds plus Lavoy Allen scored 10 points with eight rebounds off the bench.
Brandon Bass scored 12 points but Rajon Rondo (8 points, 13 assists, 7 rebounds) had a quiet night. The only real positive development offensively for the Celts is that Mickael Pietrus (8 points) woke up from his playoffs-long no-show to hit a pair of huge 3-pointers. Avery Bradley also scored eight points in only 20 minutes as his shoulder popped out again so his time on the court was limited.
One thing we can always count on with the C's is that they'll never make it easy on themselves or their fans. This loss ensured that there will be a Game 5 next Monday in Boston. First things first, the series shifts to Philadelphia for Games 3 & 4. Game 3 is Wednesday night (7:00 p.m., TNT) and I have a feeling that the Celtics will have more energy and better offensive execution. At least that is my hope since they really need to win that game and not fall behind 2-1.