Boston Versus Philadelphia PreviewEastern Conference Second Round
#4 Boston (39-27) vs. #8 Philadelphia (35-31)
Season series: Philadelphia, 2-1
Philadelphia can win if…the 76ers are able to limit their turnovers, force Boston to turn the ball over and then score in transition.
Boston will win because…the Celtics have three future Hall of Famers plus a top notch point guard who is probably their most valuable player now; the Celtics simply have too much talent and too much championship level experience to lose to an inexperienced team that lacks a true superstar and struggles to score in a half court set. Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams lead a nice cast of solid Philadelphia players but with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo the Celtics can use multiple options/looks both offensively and defensively.
Other things to consider: Derrick Rose's injury cleared the way for the 76ers to upset the Chicago Bulls in the first round but even with Rose--and then Joakim Noah--sidelined by injury Philadelphia hardly won convincingly. Doug Collins is an excellent coach who has squeezed the most out of his team but it is not realistic to think that the 76ers can defeat the Celtics in a seven game series unless the Celtics suffer a rash of injuries.
This series could feature some very ugly, low scoring games, particularly if the Celtics do not turn the ball over and thus force Philadelphia to execute against an entrenched defense; the 76ers have tremendous difficulty generating points in their half court offense, so they could easily sputter their way to some 10 point quarters and/or 30 point halves against Boston.
The Celtics do not look like a championship caliber team but if they defeat Philadelphia, win one road game in the Eastern Conference Finals and defend their home court in that series versus Miami or Indiana then the "Big Three plus Rondo" could make one last trip to the NBA Finals.
posted by David Friedman @ 6:42 AM