Celtics 75, 76ers 82
You need to score points to win a basketball game, and the Boston Celtics just couldn’t do that Wednesday night.
The C’s scored just 75 points in Game 6 and the offensive woes all came to a head in the third period. They somehow managed to total 20 points in the quarter, but that was only because the Sixers sent them to the line for eight free throw attempts, all of which were cashed in.
To put it simply, the offense was putrid. There was no movement and there was no spacing. It looked a lot like Boston’s third-quarter performance during Game 4, which resulted in a blown 18-point lead.
Boston did not make a field goal until 6:33 remained in the third period. That bucket only arrived because Philadelphia left Rajon Rondo wide-open for a tip-in off of a missed jumper from Kevin Garnett. Over the next four minutes and 48 seconds, the C’s managed to make only two more field goals.
Yes, you’re doing that math correctly. Boston made just three field goals over the first 10:11 of the third quarter.
While the C’s were struggling to the point of no return, Philadelphia was busy turning a deficit into a lead. The Sixers trailed 41-35 with 10:54 remaining in the third before reeling off an 18-7 run. All five of Philadelphia’s players who started the third quarter scored during that stretch.
That big run turned Boston’s six-point lead into a five-point deficit and placed all of the momentum into the Sixers’ hands. The key play of the stretch was a high-flying and-one dunk by Andre Iguodala that sent the Wells Fargo Center crowd onto its feet.
Boston couldn’t turn its offense on all night, and in the meantime it couldn’t turn Philadelphia’s off. All of that means that we’re on our way to one of the most classic settings in all of pro sports – a Game 7 in TD Garden.
Key Box Score Line
The Celtics put themselves in this position by shooting themselves in the feet all night long, but credit the Sixers for playing a solid basketball game. Jrue Holiday, in particular, can place much of that credit onto his own shoulders.
Holiday dominated Rajon Rondo tonight. His 20 points more than doubled Rondo’s output despite attempting just one more shot than Boston’s point guard. Holiday, who’s know more as a scorer, also matched Rondo in the assist column with six dimes. Additionally, Philadelphia’s point guard committed half the amount of turnovers (two) that Rondo did (four).
Boston’s defense was on its heels all night long because no one, including Rondo, could stay in front of Holiday and the rest of Philadelphia’s guards. We’re headed to a Game 7 because the Celtics played very poorly, but Holiday had a big part in this, too.
Box Score Nuggets
- Two Celtics, Paul Pierce (24 points) and Kevin Garnett (20 points) scored at least 20 points. No other Celtics player scored in double-figures.
- Pierce (10 boards), Garnett (11 boards) and Rajon Rondo (nine boards) combined to grab 30 rebounds, just seven shy of Philadelphia's team total.
- Jrue Holiday led the Sixers in scoring with 20 points.
- Holiday also tied Lou Williams for the team high in assists with six.
- For the second consecutive game, the team that was outrebounded won.
- The team that has won the third quarter has won all six games of the series.
- Boston accumulated just 14 assists in the game, which is just one more than Rondo alone had averaged through the first five games.
- The Celtics shot 33.3 percent from the field while Philadelphia shot 45.7 percent.
- Mickael Pietrus played more than 35 minutes off the bench for Boston. He scored all five of the team's bench points and also grabbed four rebounds
- Elton Brand grabbed a double-double for the Sixers with 13 points and 10 rebounds.
- Boston made 20 of its 23 free throw attempts.
- Philadelphia shot just 11-of-28 from the free-throw line.
- Pierce shot 13-of-13 from the free-throw line.
- The Celtics did not score more than 20 points in any of the four quarters.
- Philadelphia outscored Boston 42-16 in the paint.
- Rondo grabbed more offensive rebounds, five, than defensive rebounds, four.
- Pierce and Rondo each committed four turnovers. Boston's starters totaled 14 turnovers as a group.
- Pierce, Garnett and Rondo each played more than 41 minutes.
Quote of the Night
Doc Rivers on Philadelphia's dribble-penetration: "Their penetration, their isolations without Avery on the floor - they clearly went to a lot of isos. They were picking who they wanted. That’s what I would do; you can’t blame them for doing it. Doug (Collins) and I are close so I’m going to give him a call and say, 'Hey, listen, none of that.' "