Tuesday, March 5, 7:00 PM (EST) at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
31-27 (3rd Atlantic, 7th East)
23-35 (4th Atlantic, 9th East)
TV: TNT Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic FM | Live Stats
THE ENEMY: A. BRADLEY | C. LEE | P. PIERCE | B. BASS | K. GARNETT
by Max Rappaport and Liz Sim
MATCHUP TO WATCH
F Brandon Bass vs. F Thaddeus Young
In 59 games last season, 6-8 big man Brandon Bass averaged career highs in points (12.5 PPG) and rebounds (6.2 RPG), playing a vital role on Celtic head coach Doc Rivers' squad. When he takes the floor Tuesday for his 59th game this season, he'll do so holding season averages of just 7.7 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. Shooting just 45.2% from the floor, his worst field-goal percentage since 2006-07, Bass has not yet lost the confidence of Rivers.
Over the Celtics' last five games, Bass has logged an average of 32.1 minutes per game, but has grabbed a combined 20 rebounds during that stretch.
Since returning from a left hamstring injury that kept him out of the lineup for six games in the month of February, Sixer forward Thaddeus Young has provided Philly with some much-needed energy in the frontcourt. Scoring 14 points in each of this weekend’s contests, the forward also recorded a double-double against Golden State, notching a career-high 16 rebounds. On the season, he has 14 double-doubles; last season, he had just one.
While his 14.6 points (51.0 FG%), 7.7 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game have been big for the Sixers on the court, Young's contributions off the court are equally impactful. The team's longest-tenured player, he is a first-year captain and a player head coach Doug Collins has called his "most important player." His veteran presence and energy on the court will be big for the Sixers, as they look to maintain focus and competitiveness down the stretch this season.
No Rondo? No Problem
Possessing a 20-23 record at the time of Rajon Rondo's season-ending right ACL injury, the Celtics have gone 11-4 in 15 games without the All-Star point guard. In his absence, veteran swingman Paul Pierce is posting some of the best numbers of his NBA career, averaging 18.1 on 14.0 shots per game and notching 8.1 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game.
Despite their most-recent loss to the Celtics in Boston on December 8, Philadelphia has triumphed in four of the teams' last six regular season meetings. If they win this game, and, hence, the four-game series this season, it will be the first time doing so in back-to-back seasons since 1998-99 through 2001-02.
LAST TIME THEY MET
Sixers 79, Celtics 92 – December 8, 2013
After falling to Philadelphia in the teams' first two meetings this season, Boston came back with a 13-point win on December 8. Kevin Garnett had a team-high 19 points, and Paul Pierce came just shy of a double-double, with 13 points and nine assists. Former Celtic Rajon Rondo nearly nabbed a triple-double, scoring seven points, grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out 11 assists. The Celtics held the Sixers to 39.2% from the floor.
The Sixers were led by Thaddeus Young, who scored 22 points on 9-of-15 shooting. Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner each logged over 40 minutes, with Holiday notching 11 points, eight assists, and five rebounds and Turner adding 13 points, three assists, and three rebounds.