Friday, December 7, 7:00 PM (EST) at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
10-8 (4th Atlantic, 7th East)
10-8 (3rd Atlantic, 6th East)
TV: Comcast SportsNet and ESPN Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic FM | Live Stats
NOTE: The Comcast Network HD is now on XFinity® Channel 856
by Alex Schiappacasse and Max Rappaport
MATCHUP TO WATCH
G Jrue Holiday vs. G Rajon Rondo
Jrue Holiday is in the midst of his best professional season to date. The fourth-year guard out of UCLA is averaging 18.2 points and 9.3 assists per game, which are both career highs. His 9.3 assists are third in the league and he leads the Sixers in scoring. Holiday has seven double-doubles this year; the Sixers are 7-0 in those games. His best game of the year came on November 25, when he scored 33 points and handed out 13 assists in a win over the Phoenix Suns. Last time the Sixers faced the rival Celtics, Holiday tallied 21 points and 14 helpers en route to a 106-100 road victory.
Rondo, a crafty 6-1 point guard out of Kentucky, is the man that makes it all go for the Boston Celtics. His ability to find open teammates and make those around him better is second to none, as he is averaging a league- and career-high 12.8 assists per game. Rondo had a streak of 37 consecutive games with at least 10 assists, which tied with John Stockon for second all-time. His streak ended the unconventional way when he was ejected in the second quarter of a November 28 game against the Brooklyn Nets for getting into an altercation with Nets forward Kris Humphries. Rondo has twice dished out 20+ assists this season; one of those games was the team's loss to the 76ers earlier this season.
Rajon Rondo is the epitome of a pass-first point guard. Although Rondo is shooting 50 percent from the field this year, he is only averaging 10 shots per game. This season, he's attempted 42.4% of his shots at the rim, with under half of his attempts coming from outside the paint. Although Rondo's numbers this season suggest improvement from midrange (he's making 51.8% of his shots from that distance this year after making just 39.3% from midrange last season), the Sixers' goal should be to make him shoot jump shots and do not allow him to drive to the basket, where he is a 60.0% career shooter.
Turning It On
In 11 games against the Celtics over the last two seasons, Sixer guard Evan Turner has averaged 12.9 points and 8.0 rebounds, besting his mark of 10.3 points and 6.0 rebounds in games over that span against the league's 28 other teams. In the only meeting between the two teams so far this season, Turner scored 25 points and pulled down 11 boards.
No More Mr. Nice Guy
Following a 12-point home loss to the Brooklyn Nets on November 28, Celtics head coach Doc Rivers called his team “soft,” voicing his displeasure with the team's lack of presence around the rim. The Celtics average 37.8 rebounds per game, which is worst in the league. Since Doc spoke out about his team's ailing frontcourt, the Celtics have posted a +4 rebounding differential through three games, winning two and boasting a +25 point differential.
LAST TIME THEY MET
11/9/2012 - Sixers 106, Celtics 100
Winning on the road at TD Garden in Boston is never easy, but the Sixers answered the call, topping the Celtics 106-100 on November 9. Leading the way for the Sixers was Evan Turner, who scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds. Jrue Holiday also recorded a double-double, as he tallied 21 points and dished out 14 assists. The Sixers went into the half with 12-point lead of 12 points and finished the third up nine points; they would never relinquish their lead, however, despite several Celtics runs in the fourth.