On Tuesday night the Celtics opened up their first of back to back games with a trip to Philadelphia. The Celtics came in looking to extend their win streak to three games while effectively resting their veterans to prepare for their game tomorrow night in Indiana. The 76ers have had a rough year going 23-35 coming into tonight. They've also haven't had their All-Star Andrew Bynum for a single game after acquiring him in an offseason trade.
The Celtics were able to get in some much needed rest and practice this past week playing just one game in seven days. Philadelphia on the other hand is a midst a tough schedule playing five games in nine days. The Celtics needed some of their young players to step up big and shoulder the scoring load. Doc Rivers and the team got just that, led by Avery Bradley who topped all scorers with 22 points. Thanks to their offensive execution and great team defense the Celtics won their third straight 109-101.
Boston Celtics' Courtney Lee (11) shoots as Philadelphia 76ers' Royal Ivey defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)
In the Celtics previous game against the Warriors Avery Bradley and his trademark defense were the major story line facing Stephen Curry. Tonight Avery again was the player of the game but this time for his offensive output while his defense became a side note. He was red hot on the night shooting 10-15 for 22 points, 7 rebounds, and 5 assists. At one point he was shooting 9-10 in the game and was making all the right decisions creating easy buckets for his teammates.
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett played well in limited minutes as both finish with 18 points. Pierce had a perfect night from deep shooting 4-4 and came close to a triple-double adding 11 rebounds and 7 assists. KG continues to be the leader of the group especially on the defensive end finishing with a team best +11 rating in the plus/minus category.
For all of the positive things the Celtics did they just couldn't fully pull away from the Sixers. Philadelphia was led by their All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday who got his fifteenth double-double of the year finishing with 18 points and 10 assists. Jrue played a very good overall game but really struggled with Avery Bradley guarding him as he shot just 35.3%.
Boston Celtics' Kevin Garnett (5) shoots over Philadelphia 76ers' Spencer Hawes (00) in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)
The 76ers actually had seven players who finished in double digit scoring and were able to force 22 Celtic turnovers. This was largely due to the Celtics playing aggressive off the inbound pushing the ball up court in an uncontrolled manor. Nevertheless the Celtics defense was the difference in the game as they held the Sixers to 41% shooting and just 23.8% from behind the arc.
The Celtics also got some major contributions from the bench who scored 41 points collectively. Jordan Crawford had his best performance thus far in a Celtics uniform. His style of play is something the team and fans are certainly going to need to get used to. Many times Crawford seems out of control but somehow he manages to hit the tough shots. He finished with 12 points on the night with two big back to back three pointers. He also managed to help out with 4 rebounds and 3 assists working nicely with the other new Celtic, Terrence Williams in a two man game.
Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce (34) and Philadelphia 76ers' Thaddeus Young (21) fight for a loose ball in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, March 5, 2013, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/H. Rumph Jr)
Jeff Green and Jason Terry provided great support from the bench as well. Green continues his offensive hot streak scoring 16 points tonight going with 4 rebounds, and 5 assists. He really did a good job of penetrating and drawing fouls to get to the free throw line for easy points. Terry on the other hand struggled again shooting the ball at 3-7 for 9 points. The Jet just can't seem to string together consistent scoring nights but did a great job facilitating in the offense. He chipped in 6 assists and 3 rebounds while also setting up numerous plays leading to a teammate getting to the free throw line.
It was a great overall game for the team to start the week. Doc Rivers did a great job limiting Pierce and Garnett's minutes holding them both under 30 a piece. The Celtics will head to Indiana to face a tough Pacers team who recently reacquired one of their top players in Danny Granger. Granger just returned from an extended injury that has held him out the majority of the year and has been immediately effective. Game tips off at 7pm EST again as the Celtics look to extend their streak to four games and climb up in playoff seeding.
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