By Kyle Sullivan
The Sixers are back in action Friday night as they head up north to take on the division rival Boston Celtics. The Sixers are coming off of a tough loss to the Charlotte Bobcats Wednesday night when they were on the wrong side of a 123-93 tilt. The Celtics find themselves also looking to turn things around as they are coming off of a 118-92 loss to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday. The season series is currently split as the Sixers won the first matchup 95-94, and Boston taking the second meeting 114-108. These two teams will meet one last time in Philadelphia on April 14.
Matchup to Watch
Point Guard: Rajon Rondo vs. Michael Carter-Williams
In their last meeting, Rondo was held to just eight points (4/8 FG), but was able to contribute eleven assists and nine rebounds. Michael Carter-Williams put up 11 points (5/16 FG) to go along with six assists and three rebounds. During the Celtics' recent six-game losing skid, Rondo has averaged 12.4 points, 10.4 assists, and 4.8 rebounds. In Carter-Williams’ last six games, he has contributed an average of 14.5 points, 7.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists, and 2.0 steals per contest.
Third Times the Charm
Coming off of his KIA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month announcement, Michael Carter-Williams is the first Sixer to win this award three times; the other two months were in January and the combined months of October and November. In the month of March, Carter-Williams put up impressive numbers with 14.9 points, 8.4 rebounds, 6.5 assists, 1.8 steals, and 0.4 blocks per game. In the 16 games he played in March, Carter-Williams had three double-doubles, coming against Orlando, Indiana, and New York, and one triple-double in an earlier meeting with the Knicks.
Given the Green Light
Since losing Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to trades, the Celtics have gotten a big bump from forward Jeff Green. This season, Green is averaging 16.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. He's has hit the 20+ point mark 19 times this season, and has eclipsed 30 points four times. In 23 Celtics wins, Green is scoring 2.7 more points per game (18.5 compared to 15.8 PPG), and shooting 45% from the field compared to only 38%.
Last Time Out
The big story of the Sixers and Celtics' last meeting was Philadelphia’s 58 points in the paint and 28 fast break points. Philadelphia remains first in the league in pace (103.8 possessions per game), and third in the league in paint points per game (49.2). Boston is allowing 44.1 points in the paint per game, which ranks 22nd in the NBA.
|Category||Sixers (16-59)||Celtics (23-52)|
|PPG||Thaddeus Young – 18.0||Jeff Green – 16.6|
|RPG||Henry Sims – 6.8||Jared Sullinger – 8.1|
|APG||Michael Carter-Williams – 6.2||Rajon Rondo – 9.3|
|SPG||Thaddeus Young – 2.2||Rajon Rondo – 1.3|
|BPG||Jarvis Varnado – 1.3||Kris Humphries – 0.9|