Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 102, 76ers 101
Celtics 102, 76ers 101
There’s no doubt about the key moment in this one.
After trading buckets for the entire fourth quarter, the Celtics and 76ers went down to the wire. Boston got huge buckets from Ray Allen and Glen Davis on consecutive possessions, but Andre Iguodala responded both times with clutch shots that seemed as if they were going to secure an enormous win for Philadelphia. But there was one mistake Iguodala and the 76ers made: they allowed the C’s to have one last shot.
Boston made it count.
After Iguodala’s running floater went through the net with 6.6 seconds remaining in the game, Doc Rivers called the most important timeout of Boston’s season to date. As we all know, the options are plentiful for the C’s in a game-winning situation. There’s Allen’s shooting, Pierce’s one-on-one moves, Rondo’s ability to drive to the basket, and even the pick-and-roll with Pierce and Garnett. Rivers caught us all off guard with the play he chose, and that includes the Sixers.
Garnett inbounded the ball to Rondo on the right wing and Pierce, away from the ball, set up shop at the top of the key as if he was going to take a pass and run an isolation. Instead, Garnett cut off of Rondo after the inbound pass, causing a defensive switch from Philadelphia, and cut to the basket. The switch resulted in Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday, who stands at 6-foot-4, defending KG.
Rondo spotted the mismatch, which was masterfully planned by Rivers during the timeout, and threw a lob pass to Garnett over Holiday. KG rose up, caught the ball and kissed it off the glass all in one motion to put the Celtics up by one with 1.4 seconds remaining.
Philadelphia had run out of timeouts, so it had no option to advance the ball to half court. Garnett intercepted the ensuing inbound pass, and with that the Celtics had secured their eighth straight win in thrilling fashion.
Key Box Score Line
Ray Allen had a brilliant shooting night that nearly gave him the nod in this spot for the second game in a row, but there’s no ignoring Rajon Rondo’s performance tonight in Philadelphia.
It wasn’t just that Rondo was the man who made a perfect alley-oop pass to Kevin Garnett for the game-winning field goal. Rondo did plenty more than that. He contended for the game-high in points with 19, just four behind Allen’s 23, and also dished out his standard 14 assists. The impressive performance didn’t stop there.
Doc Rivers and the Celtics were able to lean on their star point guard for 47:14 of playing time, meaning he sat out for just 46 seconds of the entire game. The Celtics clearly needed him, and he gave them all he had. While racking up his 14 assists, Rondo committed only three turnovers.
Box Score Nuggets
- Boston outshot Philadelphia 55.9 percent to 45.7 percent.
- Elton Brand's eight offensive rebounds were as many as any Celtic player grabbed overall. He finished with 14 boards.
- Ray Allen scored a game-high 23 points.
- Every 76er player who scored finished in double-figures (seven total).
- Boston grabbed only 33 rebounds.
- In a spot start, Semih Erden scored eight points to go along with three rebounds.
- Glen Davis scored 16 points off the bench to go along with seven rebounds.
- Rajon Rondo dished out a game-high 14 assists, but Andre Iguodala wasn't far behind with 11.
- Rondo sat for only 46 seconds of the game.
- Semih Erden, in a spot start at center, grabbed three rebounds.
- The Celtics had three players finish with four fouls.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on the final play of the game: "We worked on that last week. We tried to run it early and we had bad timing. It’s just funny how things work out. It’s a low clock play – the ball’s in the best passer’s hands, and you have shooters on the floor. The whole sell was Paul [Pierce]. It was good that it worked."