Wednesday, March 7, 7:00 PM at Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
|Highlights||Quotes||Recap||Game Notes||Box Score|
Head Coach Doug Collins
That was a much, much needed win for our guys. Start to finish we were in the attack mode. Our defense was great. We got out in the open court. I think we might have had 24 points in the paint in the first quarter. Evan [Turner] put us in a real, he and Dre [Andre Iguodala], and Jrue [Holiday], all three of those guys’ ball handling really put us in a mode where whoever had the ball was attacking.
Boston is very aggressive on their screen rolls, so our bigs are very important how they handle that, and I thought we did a good job with that. Our defense created so many opportunities for us. We got out in the open court, and I told Doc [Rivers, Boston Celtics head coach] that at the end of the game. I said, “We got a break.” They played an overtime game last night, traveled in. They’re a team that’s a little bit older and they had some weary legs tonight. I think they’re starting an eight-game road trip. I think they’ve played about nine more games at home going into tonight than they have played on the road, so they’re in the midst of a long road trip, but we took advantage of it. That’s what you have to do, and I couldn’t be more proud of our guys.
We lose Thad [Thaddeus Young] tonight. I was so worried about our bench. Tony Battie, you’re going to look down there and you’re going to see 10 minutes and 39 seconds and one rebound, but the value he gave our team, you can’t even put a price on it tonight. We were able to put him on [Kevin] Garnett to start the game. We wanted their big guys shooting jump shots, not letting them play in the paint. They’ve been really aggressive in the paint over the last five games and so we wanted to guard the paint, and we wanted to take care of the ball.
I thought Evan did a great job with [Rajon] Rondo and I thought that Jrue did a great job with Ray Allen, and Dre always does a good job of making Paul Pierce work for everything. It was our defense, it was our rebounding, it was our state of mind.
Our guys were in real good spirit tonight and I was very happy, and more important, I was really happy for Evan Turner. Evan was great tonight. He was absolutely fabulous. He had the bounce back in his step, he had the pop in his game. He was playing confident basketball. I have told him sometimes as a team you have to go through some valleys to find out what we want to go through.
This Boston team, it’s interesting, I looked at their record this year and I think going into tonight they were 20 and 17. It’s interesting, they had three stretches where they were 0 and three, lost six of seven, and lost like nine of ten. So they went through three stretches this year combined to be two and 16, losing 16 of 18, and they went through three stretches where they were 18 and one. I told our guys, I said, “We just went through a stretch where we lost eight of 10, and it’s not the end of the world. You’ve got to play through it.”
I was very happy. The guys are going to take tomorrow, rest, hopefully we get Thad back. We know how important the game is against Utah on Friday night. We’re looking at, after that, we’ve got to go to New York for a quick turnaround on Sunday. Then we’ve got at Indiana, Miami at home, at Chicago. So it doesn’t get any easier. That’s why this game tonight became so pivotal. With all that’s going on, after 40 games, we’re winning the Atlantic Division. That says a lot to our guys.
br> Guard Evan Turner
Q: What was it that out there that led to tonight that was different from the other night?
Honestly, I didn’t worry. I just let it go and let God deal with it. I understand I’m going to have some good nights and some bad nights, and as a player and a pro, you understand that. Tonight was a good night, and I’m going to try to build off of this and keep learning, and keep getting better.
Q: Did it help getting 32 minutes the other night that let you know that you were going to get extended minutes and not get pulled if you made a mistake or two?
It definitely helped a little bit. Coach told me this morning his role for me. What occurred the other night, getting some shots up and getting my game legs, and coming in on an off day to work with Coach Curry helped me get my legs back into shape. Tonight, I just tried to push in transition and make the right play.
Q: Does it make it a little more satisfying to have a good game like you did tonight, considering you had to deal with questions regarding your playing time?
Honestly, it was cool. You’re always blessed to play a great game and come out with a win, and for everyone to come out healthy and happy. That’s pretty much it. I’m trying to build off of this and not sit here and say, “I told you so,” or point fingers. It’s just enjoying the moment.
br> Guard Andre Iguodala
Q: Coach Collins said he is committed playing you and Evan for long periods of time together barring injuries. Tell why that can work and what is good about it for this team.
I have a hard time finding reasons why it wouldn’t work. We’re both basketball players, we know how to play the game. They always say you need a better shooter out there, but Evan’s a better shooter than you think, and my three ball has been going in for the most part throughout the season. It makes it easier for all three guards with Jrue and myself, and when Jodie’s [Meeks] out there, we can get him shots, but it’s a different dynamic with Evan, as all of us can make plays for each other.
Q: Evan was obviously a number two overall pick and has gone through some ups and downs as most people do. Do you think he struggled with not being in the starting lineup when he came back this year?
I think every player in the NBA struggles with not playing. It’s not Evan or any one particular person. I think every player wants to prove that they are capable of playing in this league. When you come in with expectations and it doesn’t happen for one particular reason, it can weigh on you mentally, and that goes for any person.
By SANTOSH VENKATARAMAN
Posted Mar 07 2012 12:06AM
The Boston Celtics have done nothing but win Atlantic Division titles since Kevin Garnett joined the team, and they're starting to look like they will capture another.
The visiting Celtics can stretch their win streak to a season-high six games Wednesday night and pull into a virtual tie for the division lead with the stumbling Philadelphia 76ers when they visit Wells Fargo Center.
Boston (20-17) has won the Atlantic the last four seasons since Garnett joined the club before the 2007-08 campaign. A 4-7 start by the Celtics and a 7-2 beginning by Philadelphia (22-17) made it seem like the balance of power had shifted south.
With trade rumors swirling around star point guard Rajon Rondo, the Celtics, though, are enjoying their second five-game win streak of the season as they continue to pull out close games. Their last two wins have been in overtime, including 97-92 at home Tuesday over Houston.
"We're starting to play good basketball, and we're starting to win games where we don't play good basketball," coach Doc Rivers said. "And that may be more important."
Winning close games has become a problem for Philadelphia, which has dropped eight of 10 but has been outscored by only five points during that stretch. The 76ers' last four defeats have been by a combined 19 points.
"We keep fighting," forward Elton Brand said. "One day we're going to break through. I think we're going to peak at the right time and start winning these close games right before the playoffs."
Coach Doug Collins made lineup changes for Monday's 97-93 loss at Milwaukee, replacing Jodie Meeks and Lavoy Allen with Evan Turner and Nikola Vucevic. Turner missed 11 of 12 shots for two points but had a career high-tying 12 rebounds while Meeks scored 13.
"I wanted to calm Jodie down a little bit, I think he's been pressing," Collins said. "I think he came down and hit his first four shots. And just to see, put Evan out there, see what he could do."
Collins was left lamenting a poor second half in which his club scored 38 points.
"We shot 13 for 49 from the floor in the second half," Collins said. "I mean, come on. Who are you going to beat?"
The Celtics are seeking their first six-game win streak since a 14-game run Nov. 22-Dec. 22, 2010. Paul Pierce scored 30 on Tuesday on the heels of his 34-point effort in Sunday's 115-111 victory over New York.
Boston and Philadelphia have yet to meet this season after the Celtics took three of four matchups in 2010-11. Pierce was quiet with 12.5 points per game on 41.7 percent shooting, Rondo averaged 15.7 points and 10.7 assists in three games and Ray Allen led Boston with 15.8 points per game.
Brand led Philadelphia in the 2010-11 season series with an average of 13.8 points.
The Celtics have taken 13 of 16 matchups since Garnett joined the club. He had double-doubles in all four wins on Boston's homestand that ended Tuesday, averaging 19.0 points and 10.8 boards.
- With the win tonight, the Sixers have taken two of the past three vs. Boston after losing nine of the previous 10. The Celtics entered tonight having won a season-high five straight. Since losing a season-high five in a row from 2/15-2/22, Philly has split its past six games.
- Philly won by 32 points tonight, marking its second biggest win of the season and the biggest loss of the season for Boston (previously 19 points at New Orleans on 12/28). It is also the Sixers largest margin of victory over the Celtics since a 32-point win on 3/22/81. Of Philly’s 23 wins, 19 have been by double-digits, including 11 by 20+ points.
- The Sixers have scored 100+ points in two of the past four games after not doing so in 19 straight games from 1/25-2/29. Philly is 9-2 when scoring 100+ points this season. Boston drops to 1-4 when allowing 100+ points this season.
- Boston scored a season-low tying 71 points. Philly improves to 20-4 when holding opponents below 90 points this season (3-13 when giving up 90+). The Sixers have held the opposition below 80 points 10 times this season after doing so six times in 2010-11.
- The Celtics shot a season-low 35.0% from the floor. The Sixers have held the opposition below 40.0% shooting in nine of the past 14 games (40.3% FGs). Philly is 11-6 when holding opponents below 40.0% shooting this season (10-1 in 2010-11).
- Boston shot 0-of-8 from 3-point range. The last time the Celtics did not hit a single 3-pointer in a game was at Orlando on 1/22/09. Tonight was Boston’s worst 3-point shooting performance since going 0-of-10 vs. Utah on 12/21/05. In the Sixers 23 wins this season, opponents are averaging 3.6 3FGM on 25.9% shooting.
- In his second start of the season, Evan Turner had a career-high 26 points on 11-of-19 shooting. He scored below double-digits in each of the previous 15 games and was averaging 5.7 ppg over the past 23 games. Turner was shooting 24.7% from the floor over the previous 12 games. He had 9 rebounds tonight and is averaging 10.5 rpg over the past two games.
- Rookie Nik Vucevic recorded his first career double-double with 14 points and a career-high 12 rebounds off the bench. He has scored 10+ points in six of the past 13 games and nine times overall this season. Vucevic had 5 offensive rebounds tonight and has grabbed at least 2 offensive boards in each of the past seven games.
- The trio of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen scored a total of 26 points on 9-of-29 shooting. Over the previous five games (Celtics 5-0 mark), each player was averaging 17+ points while shooting over 50% from the floor.