This is the 3rd meeting between these two teams this season. The Celtics beat the Sixers in Philly 105-74 earlier in the season. They also won 113-110 in Boston to begin their current win streak. Since that last victory in Boston, these two teams have been going in opposite directions. The Sixers have gone 1-9 in that time while the Celtics have won 10 straight.
The Celtics haven't been as dominant at home as they have been on the road. They are 8-3 at home while losing only once on the road. The Sixers have been dismal on the road, however, with a 2-10 record. Allen Iverson was just finding his groove in Philly when injured his shoulder and also has arthritis in his knee and will miss this game. I'm going to guess that rather than switching the entire lineup around they are going to insert Willie Green into the starting PG spot, but I may be wrong.
n spite of the Sixers' losing streak and poor record, the Celtics need to take them seriously because if they don't, they could get burned. With Allen Iverson, Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young in the starting lineup, they have plenty of firepower to put points on the board. They also have firepower off the bench with Elton Brand and Jason Kapono. The Celtics need to continue to emphasize defense and not hope to trade baskets with the Sixers.
Rajon Rondo PPG 12.0 APG 9.5 SPG 2.5
Ray Allen PPG 15.5 APG 3.0 3P% .364
Paul Pierce PPG 18.0 RPG 4.4 APG 3.8
Kevin Garnett PPG 15.3 RPG 7.5 BPG 0.7
Kendrick Perkins PPG 12.0 RPG 7.5 BPG 1.9
Jrue Holiday PPG 5.9 RPG 2.7 SPG 1.0
Willie Green PPG 8.0 APG 2.3 3P% .333
Andre Iguodala PPG 19.7 APG 5.5 3P% .324
Thaddeus Young PPG 16.0 RPG 5.4 BPG 0.1
Samuel Dalembert PPG 6.5 RPG 8.4 BPG 2.0
Paul Pierce vs Andre Iguodala
Andre Iguodala is a handful for any player to guard. Pierce's defense will be needed to try to slow him down as he can put up big numbers if left open anywhere on the court as he is also a threat from beyond the arc. He is also a good defender and Pierce will have to work to get any open looks. Keys to the Game Defense
As I have said many times before, defense is going to be the key to every game this season and to winning the championship. We have seen the Celtics' smothering defense on the road, now they need to focus on keeping it at home as well. The Sixers are a good 3 point shooting team and so the Celtics need to defend the perimeter as well as the paint.
The Sixers have a good rebounding team and with Allen Iverson back, he will push the ball up for easy baskets if the Celtics allow them to get rebounds. They will also get second chance points as Iguodala is one of the best in getting put backs and taking advantage if given a second chance at scoring. Much of rebounding is effort and desire and the Celtics must come into this game with both.
Play 48 Minutes
The Celtics tend to start off slowly, choosing to trade baskets in the first half,and only after they fall behind or play even for awhile do they amp up the defense and pull ahead. The Celtics need to get back to strong starts and playing the entire game instead of playing defense in spurts in the first half and clamping down in the second.
X-Factor Rest vs Rust
It's always hard to tell how a few days off will affect a team. Usually, the Celtics come out strong after 3 days off. But we have also seen teams come out rusty and take awhile to get back into a rhythm. Hopefully, the Celtics will come out rejuvenated and put the Sixers away early.