“It feels good to be back home.” That was a pregame quote from Celtics coach Doc Rivers before tonight’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Coming into the game tonight everyone thought it would be an easy one for the guys in green. They had won eleven in a row, and were up against a Sixers team that had lost 15 of their last 17 and were without Allen Iverson. Things didn’t turn out as planned as the Celtics dropped a tough one to the Sixers by the score of 98-97. This moves their record to 20-5, and is their fourth Friday night home loss of the season.
So what was the problem with the Celtics tonight? For one they did not play with enough energy during the second half. They let a very hungry Sixers team get anything they wanted in the second half. They got out-rebounded, out-hustled, and did not have the energy on offense that they did during the first half.
It seems like the Celtics are becoming way too comfortable when they get leads on their home floor. The Celtics had a 15 point lead at one point during the first half (Yes, I said 15). The Sixers used a 10-0 third quarter run to get back in the game and ultimately stole a victory from the Celtics. The Celtics are now 8-4 at home, this is not a good sign considering this is almost the same team that went 48-7 (including playoffs) during the 2007-2008 season.
Another thing that didn’t help the cause tonight was the early ejection of Rasheed Wallace. This is his first of the season. He now has ten technicals so far this year and is only six away from suspension. Sheed got ejected after he argued a off the ball foul and started going after referee Bill Kennedy before assistant coach Tom Thibodeau held him back. And yes, Bill Kennedy is that same guy who ejected Doc Rivers during a game last year. My thoughts: Keep him away from Boston.
The Philadelphia 76ers played great basketball tonight in their own right. They really hustled up and down the court matching every Celtics basket in the fourth quarter. Second year player Marreese Speights played a great game tonight, surprisingthe Celtics withhis play. He had 17 points and 10 rebounds on the night. Elton Brand also had a great game off the bench with 23 points and 8 rebounds.
Kevin Garnett led the way for the Celtics tonight, taking advantage of his mismatch with Sixers forward Thaddeus Young. Garnett had a double-double on the night with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Kendrick Perkins also had a double-double with 13 points and 16 rebounds. We also saw some productive minutes from Tony Allen tonight. He was one of the players that showed some determination tonight. He had 11 points, 3 steals, and 2 assists.
The two bright spots during tonight’s game included a 50,000 dollar shot made by a fan, and the pregame honoring of Ray Allen’s 20,000th point. So the Celtics have two games before the Christmas day showdown in Orlando. They are against two teams (Indiana and Minnesota) that the Celtics should, and need, to take care of. The Celtics need to get that winning swagger back and walk into the building ready to prove who they really are.
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