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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Was Andre Iguodala Really That Important? Because The 76ers Are A Mess Without Him

Remember when the Celtics and Sixers went seven games in the Eastern Conference semifinals last spring? Boston could certainly get back there this season but Philadelphia won't even sniff the playoffs. Apparently Andre Iguodala is the best player in the NBA since the Sixers (23-36, 17-16 home) are lost with him in Denver now.

Boston (32-27, 11-18) won their third consecutive game, 109-101 at the Wells Fargo Center tonight, to go a season-high five games over .500. After losing the first two games of the season series, Boston won the final two to finish 2-2 vs. Philly.

Avery Bradley had a season-high 22 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Paul Pierce flirted with a triple-double (18 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists) and Kevin Garnett added 18 points, six rebounds and two blocks. Boston's bench outscored Philadelphia's 41-22. Jeff Green put up 16 points and five assists, Jordan Crawford scored 12 and Jason Terry notched nine points and six assists.

Thaddeus Young led the Sixers with 19 points, 10 rebounds and two steals. Evan Turner almost had a triple-double (18 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals),
Jrue Holiday notched 18 points, 10 assists and four steals while Royal Ivey had 10 points. Dorell Wright (7 rebounds, 2 steals) and Arnett Moultrie both tossed in 10 points off the bench.

The C's led the whole way and this should have been decided by more but the Sixers made it somewhat interesting with some garbage time heroics. Boston was up 26-23 after the first quarter and 53-46 at halftime. The Sixers outscored the Celts 28-26 in the third quarter but Boston wrapped it up in the fourth (30-27).

Boston shot 9.6% better than Philadelphia (50.6%-41%), they hit six more 3-pointers (11-5), grabbed four more rebounds (49-45) and handed out 10 more assists (34-24). So how was this close? Well the Sixers had seven more steals (14-7), 26 more points in the paint (64-38) and 11 more points off turnovers (30-19).

If the playoffs started tomorrow, Boston (No. 7) would meet Indiana (No. 2). Wouldn't you know that the Celtics travel to meet the Pacers (38-22, 1st in Central Division) tomorrow night (7 p.m., CSN) at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. In their previous meeting, Boston rolled to a 94-75 win on January 4 at TD Garden. Looking back, that is easily one of their best wins of the season. I highly doubt that they can duplicate a blowout like that tomorrow but I guess that we shall see.

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