Watch It! - Celtics at 76ers
Here are five things to watch out for when the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers meet at 7 p.m. tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.
Every NBA coach wants to see his team play a full 48 minutes each night. Though the goal is rarely achieved, Brad Stevens noted on Tuesday that his team better make it happen tonight in Philadelphia. If the Celtics don’t, they could be in deep trouble.
“Philly takes advantage of your lulls,” Stevens said. “You looked at it [Monday] night. Brooklyn went on a little lull at the end of the first quarter – bang, Philly’s back in it. They went on a lull about four minutes, five minutes left in the game – Philly, bang, right back in it.”
Avoiding lulls comes down to a few things: energy, defense and shot making. The Celtics should be in good shape in the energy department, as they haven’t played since Sunday afternoon. They’re also a solid defensive team and are coming off of a game in which they made shots. They'll need to bring all three of those facets into tonight’s game.
Jared Sullinger piled up 24 points and 17 rebounds against the Philadelphia 76ers one week ago. Just imagine what he would have done had he shot the ball well.
Boston’s starting center shot just 9-of-25 from the field that night. After the game, Stevens noted that he had no qualms with any of those shots. Sullinger simply missed them.
Philadelphia better not expect that to happen again tonight. Sullinger has had another week to heal his dislocated right index finger. He’s coming off of a 10-for-15 shooting performance against Orlando. It certainly feels like that poor shooting performance against Philly is far behind him.
Big Close-Outs on 3-Pointers
Philadelphia hit seven 3-pointers when these teams met a week ago. Nearly all of those 3s came from unexpected sources.
The 76ers big men hung out around the 3-point line during that game and sank six of the team’s seven treys. Spencer Hawes nailed the majority, as he shot 4-of-6 from long range, while Thaddeus Young contributed two 3s.
Boston’s big men, particularly Sullinger, aren’t necessarily accustomed to defending the 3-point line. Tonight, however, they’ll need to do just that. Boston’s big men must close out on the 3-point line and defend it well.
Tonight’s version of the Celtics will look very different than the one that took the court against the Sixers a week ago. The C’s will have Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley back in the fold this time around.
That duo missed last week’s game due to rest (Rondo) and an ankle sprain (Bradley). Boston certainly looked like a different team on Sunday with both men in the lineup, particularly because of the way Rondo played.
Boston’s point guard logged his first double-double of the season with 19 points and 10 assists. He shot an impressive 9-of-11 from the field. There’s no doubt that Rondo has some momentum heading into this game after putting together his best performance of the season.
Continue Building Positive Vibes
February has been kind to the Celtics thus far. We’re only five days in, but Boston has already been able to complete two practices, two community events, and win a game. That’s a pretty good start.
There’s no doubt that the team is feeling the positive vibes. The energy level was high following Tuesday’s practice and there were nothing but smiles around the gym. These guys feel good about what they’ve done for the past four days. Now it’s time to keep the positive vibes going when they take the court in Philadelphia.