Celtics Overtime is a postgame feature providing analysis. Boston lost to the Philadelphia 76ers, 82-75, on Wendesday evening in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Doc Rivers sounded like a broken record after the Boston Celtics' loss Wednesday night.
Philadelphia, which won 82-75 in Game 6 to force a seventh game, had more energy, outplayed the Celtics, and the team never established Kevin Garnett, said Rivers.
Sound familiar? It should, because that's what Rivers has said after each loss this series.
Once again, the Sixers did what they needed to do to ensure victory, and Rivers gave them plenty of credit. Still, the Celtics did not do anything to help their cause. All night long, Boston looked miserably out of sync on the offensive end, and the statistics showed it -- the Celtics shot 33.3 percent on 26-of-78 shooting and 3-of-14 from three-point range.
"Offensively, we were challenged tonight," said Paul Pierce, who scored 24 on 5-of-11 shooting and 13 free throws. "We didn't get the ball movement we got in Game 5."
There are plenty of ugly stats from Wednesday's game, but one in particular is especially putrid: the Celtics managed only 14 assists in the game. To put that in perspective, Rajon Rondo recorded 14 or more assists by himself five times this postseason and 18 times in the 2011-12 regular season. Philadelphia, on the other hand, racked up 22 assists.
"I think he wanted to play well," Rivers said about Rondo, who neared a triple-double (a weak one, at that) with nine points, nine rebounds and six assists while turning the ball over four times. "I thought he attacked early and missed some shots. He probably got caught in between himself. He saw the offense wasn't working, so I thought he was kind of trying to orchestrate the offense and try to [attack], and he probably got caught in the middle."
Garnett, meanwhile, wound up with good numbers -- 20 points, 11 rebounds -- but they weren't the kind of numbers that Boston needed on the offensive end, according to Rivers.
"We really never established Kevin," said Rivers. "Even though Kevin had points, it wasn't the points that we needed -- the type of points. We have to do a better job there."
Yet again, the Celtics wasted a chance to get some extra rest, and the series is knotted at three games apiece. This time around, though, the Celtics won't be able to afford a loss. Still, confidence won't be an issue for Boston in Game 7. They've been through this before.
"[It's] win or go home," Garnett said, who will be playing in his sixth Game 7 with Boston. "Confidence is very high. We've been here before, very experienced. All out, nothing less."