Ford Keys to the Game: Celtics 86, 76ers 99

Ford Keys to the Game

Celtics 86, 76ers 99

Game Highlights

Photo of the Game

Brandon Bass

Brandon Bass goes full extension for a rebound during Friday night's loss to Philadelphia.
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty

Key Moment

The Celtics lost tonight’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers by a final score of 99-86. An enormous second-half run by the Sixers, led by Elton Brand and Lou Williams, hit Boston like a tidal wave and helped Philly maintain its first-place standing in the Atlantic Division.

But that fact is not what matters on this night. What matters is the scene that took place in the closing minutes of the second quarter.

Mickael Pietrus, who started tonight’s game in place of the injured Ray Allen, drove down the middle of the paint and went up for a shot with 5:08 remaining in the first half. He was fouled by Lou Williams while he was in mid-air and fell hard to the floor, landing on his lower back area.

The impact of the fall left a lasting image in the eyes of everyone who watched this game. Pietrus immediately reached to the lower portion of the back of his head and rolled over onto his stomach. He did not move from that position for approximately 10 minutes.

With Boston’s head trainer Ed Lacerte kneeling by his side and several other medical personnel surrounding Pietrus, the upbeat swingman went through some of the most frightening minutes of his life. The medical crew worked hard to stabilize his body as a stretcher was brought onto the floor to take him away. Pietrus was finally wheeled off of the court on the stretcher and brought to a local hospital to be examined and treated.

The entire scene left an indelible impact on everyone in the building, but most importantly his teammates. They sat on the bench and stood on the sideline with blank stares in the immediate aftermath of Pietrus disappearing into the nearby vomitory. It’s no coincidence that Boston led by one point at the time of the injury but wound up losing by 13 and trailing by as many as 17.

The Celtics have been hit with a situation like this before. Last year, a current teammate, Marquis Daniels, went through a similar chain of events in TD Garden. His season was lost after it was discovered that he suffered a spinal injury.

Hope remains that the same will not be the case for Pietrus. He is by far one of the greatest people this league has to offer. He carries a positive aura along with him 24 hours a day.

With that being said, Boston may have lost tonight’s game, but there is no doubt that the team is more concerned about the player it lost to an injury in the second quarter. Pietrus is a brother to the men who wear green and white, and they will be wishing for uplifting news on No. 28 in the coming hours and days.

Key Box Score Line

Paul Pierce has rediscovered his shooting touch and he it showed off tonight. He tied for the game high in scoring with 20 points thanks to an impressive 7-of-11 shooting performance that included a 3-of-4 showing from downtown. Pierce also did not miss any of his three free throw attempts.

Boston’s captain attacked the glass tonight and wound up leading the team in rebounding with nine boards. That total trailed only Spencer Hawes’ 10 rebounds on the night. Pierce dished out five dimes on the night as well, which was second on the team behind Rajon Rondo’s 17.

The circumstances that surrounded tonight’s game made it nearly impossible for the Celtics to head back to Boston with another win in its pocket. However, Pierce proved that when his team is playing healthy basketball, he can be the man to lead them at the offensive end. Even against the best defensive team in the league.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Elton Brand all tied for the game high in scoring with 20 points apiece.
  • Philadelphia had six players score in double-figures compared to just three for Boston.
  • The teams combined to commit just 22 turnovers.
  • Rajon Rondo dished out a game-high 17 assists compared to just three turnovers.
  • Thaddeus Young and Lou Williams, Philadelphia's top reserves, both shot 6-for-13 from the field.
  • Greg Stiemsma recorded a game-high two blocks.
  • Pierce led the Celtics in rebounds with nine.
  • Spencer Hawes logged the only double-double of the game with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
  • The two starting small forwards, Pierce (five) and Andre Iguodala (eight), combined for 13 assists.
  • Brandon Bass scored 18 points for Boston.
  • Each team held a double-digit lead in the game.
  • Boston scored 32 points in the first quarter and then just 54 the rest of the game.
  • Both teams scored 17 points in the second quarter.
  • The 76ers scored 46 points in the paint, compared to just 24 by the C's.
  • Ryan Hollins, Jrue Holiday and Doug Collins were all whistled for technical fouls in the game.