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Posted by Jeff Dengate on April 12, 2005 1 p.m. ET
CAN CELTICS KEEP ATLANTIC LEAD?
With a mere six games left in the 2004-05 season, the Philadelphia 76ers are sure of only one thing: Nothing is certain. There's the prospect of winning the Atlantic Division. Or they could miss the playoffs all together. There's the possibility Chris Webber returns to action. Or Allen Iverson could join him on the bench because of injuries. Yes, the last week of the regular season is about to get interesting. Let's get started tonight, shall we?
The Sixers meet the Boston Celtics in a huge Atlantic Division showdown tonight (7 ET, ESPN2). Why huge? Well, the Celtics are currently two games up on the Sixers for the division title and the No. 3 seed, while New Jersey is lurking 1Ĺ games back in the ninth position in the Eastern Conference.
The No. 3 seed winner gets the luxury of playing the No. 6, which currently is Washington. The No. 8 gets the good fortune of traveling to Miami. The No. 9 gets, well, um, nothing.
To see how this Atlantic Division race took shape, look no further than the trading deadline in late February. Remember the C-Webb deal that had the Sixers easily taking the Division title? Not in Philly's original designs, the C's countered, welcoming home Antoine Walker and going on an 11-1 tear, all while Webber was learning the ropes for his new team.
-- [Trenton Times]
The Celtics have come back to earth, dropping six of the last nine. Perhaps the team was looking ahead to the playoffs too soon?
-- [The Boston Globe]
After a difficult in-division loss to New Jersey on Saturday, Doc Rivers decided it was time to lighten the mood around practice.
-- [The Boston Herald]
So, if Boston wants to regroup and tie up the No. 3 seed, now's the best time to take advantage of the Sixers' vulerabilities. Chris Webber has only now returned to practice -- sort of -- but might not be ready for game action yet.
-- [Bucks County Courier Times]
Meanwhile, A.I. is damaged goods with thumb injuries and is likely on the shelf for tonight's game after missing Saturday's game against Washington and Monday's practice.
-- [The Philadelphia Inquirer]
If Iverson's unable to go, Willie Green will get the starting nod in the Sixers' backcourt.
-- [Philadelphia Daily News]
Regardless of which team claims the division, all this late-spring tug-of-war is causing one scribe to get all nostalgic on us for the rivalries of the '60s and '70s.
-- [The Philadelphia Inquirer]
Speaking of old foes, Detroit and Chicago renewed their battle for the Central Division
, with the Pistons wresting control of the title for the third time in four seasons.
-- [Detroit Free Press
It's official, the Nugs lock up a postseason berth.
-- [Rocky Mountain News]
The Grizzlies can join the Nuggets with one win or a Minnesota loss.
-- [Memphis Commercial Appeal]
Go figure: A three-pointer vaults Reggie Miller past the man on the logo
-- [New York Times