Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 86, 76ers 89
Celtics 86, 76ers 89
Tonight’s game wasn’t about a Key Moment, it was about a Key Dry Spell.
Boston’s offense, which shot just 41.8 percent from the field overall, went completely silent when it needed to come alive the most.
The Celtics’ only basket in the final 6:25 of the game came from Kevin Garnett on a running floater in the paint with six seconds left in regulation. That basket was easily attainable simply because the Philadelphia 76ers were already leading by five points at the time, and they had plenty of cushion to allow an easy basket by the C’s rather than stop the clock with a foul.
Garnett’s layup brought Boston’s scoring total in the final 6:25 of the game to five points, with the other three coming from the free-throw line. The toughest pill the C’s will need to swallow tonight is that the offensive execution is absolutely what lost this game – defense wasn’t the issue.
Despite Boston going ice cold from the field in the second half of the fourth quarter, its defense kept the game close. Philadelphia shot even worse from the field tonight than the Celtics did, making just 41.3 percent of their field goal attempts in the game. The Celtics never fell behind by more than five points during that final 6:25, and they actually led by two points, at 81-79, when Ray Allen hit his 3-pointer at the 6:26 mark. After that point, while the C’s managed only five points the rest of the way, the Sixers scored only 10 and made only three field goals.
It’s always a tough pill to swallow for the C’s when they know the defense was on par but the offense couldn’t keep up, especially considering they’ve been at the top of the league in terms of field goal percentage for nearly the entire season. Boston played well enough to win this game, but you aren’t going to win many contests against playoff-bound teams when you can’t put the ball through the hoop in crunch time. The Celtics learned that the hard way tonight.
Key Box Score Line
Nenad Krstic is turning into a monster for the Boston Celtics. He finds his name in this section for the third consecutive game after tallying his first double-double as a Celtic with 16 points and a game-high 15 rebounds.
Boston’s newest 7-footer hasn’t been known as a rebounder during his NBA career, but he’s beginning to dismiss that notion quickly. He just pulled in a team-high nine boards on Wednesday night against the Clippers, and he followed that up with his huge night on the glass tonight. Four of his 15 boards came at the offensive end of the court, and that hustle continues to lead to second-chance points for the Celtics.
If Krstic’s defense can catch up to his offense and rebounding, Doc Rivers is going to be forced to make a very difficult decision about who is the starting center when Shaquille O’Neal returns to the lineup. It’s not easy to have a guy who drops a 16-point, 15-rebound night on one of the hottest teams in the league riding the pine when the opening tip is tossed.
Box Score Nuggets
- Boston shot 41.8 percent from the field and Philadelphia shot 41.3 percent from the field.
- Six of Philadelphia's players finished with at least nine points but no more than 14 points.
- Nenad Krstic scored 16 points and grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds.
- No 76er player scored more than 14 points.
- Jeff Green scored a game-high 18 points off the bench for Boston.
- Both teams finished with five blocked shots.
- The 76ers committed only eight total turnovers in the game.
- The Celtics outshot the 76ers from the field, outrebounded them (45-44) and outassisted (24-22) them but still lost.
- Andre Iguodala nearly grabbed a triple-double with 13 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
- Spencer Hawes and Elton Brand tied for the team-high with 14 points apiece for Philadelphia.
- Boston was outscored 15-5 in fast break points.
- Four of Boston's five starters dished out at least four assists. Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce finished with five apiece, and Ray Allen finished with four.
- Pierce, who scored 11 points in the game, has not scored more than 11 points in a game against Philadelphia in three meetings this season.
- Allen played a game-high 39:05 but shot just 2-of-11 from the field.
- Five players in the game finished shooting perfect from the free-throw line, including four (Garnett, Carlos Arroyo, Jodie Meeks and Evan Turner) who shot 4-for-4.
Quote of the Night
Rajon Rondo on the difficulty of slowing a team down after letting them gain momentum: "You give a team confidence, a young team, it is hard to turn it off.”