Paul Pierce and the Boston Celtics continue their pursuit of an 18th championship against the Philadelphia 76ers in the second round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs on Monday evening.
Event: Celtics (5-2) vs. 76ers (4-3) - NBA Playoffs 2012, Second Round, Game 2.
Date/Time: Monday, May 14, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. EST.
Location: TD Garden (Capacity: 18,624), Boston, MA.
Broadcast Info: Monday's game between the Celtics and 76ers will be televised on TNT and CSNNE. In addition, the game will be broadcast on the radio on WEEI 93.7 FM.
Celtics Roster 2011-2012: Ray Allen, Brandon Bass, Avery Bradley, Marquis Daniels,Keyon Dooling, Kevin Garnett, Ryan Hollins, JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore, Sasha Pavlovic, Paul Pierce, Mickael Pietrus, Rajon Rondo, Greg Stiemsma,Sean Williams. Head Coach: Doc Rivers.
76ers Roster 2011-2012: Lavoy Allen, Tony Battie, Craig Brackins, Elton Brand,Spencer Hawes, Jrue Holiday, Andre Iguodala, Jodie Meeks, Xavier Silas, Evan Turner, Nikola Vucevic, Louis Williams, Sam Young, Thaddeus Young. Head Coach:Doug Collins.
Injury Report: Boston - Paul Pierce (knee), Ray Allen (ankle), Avery Bradley (shoulder); Philadelphia - Thaddeus Young (shin/ankle), Elton Brand (neck).
Regular Season Series: Boston and Philadelphia met three times in the regular season, with the Sixers winning twice. Philly won by a combined 45 points in its two victories. On March 7, the Celtics were blown away, 103-71, thanks to a career game from Evan Turner (26 points). Philly also beat Boston, 99-86, in the next meeting on March 23. Boston won the season series finale, 103-79, on April 8 behind a 20 point game from Kevin Garnett.
Celtics-76ers In First Round: Both the No. 4 seeded Celtics and No. 8 seeded 76ers won their Eastern Conference Quarterfinals series. Boston defeated the No. 5 seeded Atlanta Hawks, 4-2, and Philadelphia defeated the No. 1 seeded Chicago Bulls, 4-2.
First Round Playoff Stats: Paul Pierce is the Celtics' leading postseason scorer, averaging 21.2 points. Kevin Garnett is the team's leading rebounder (10.5 RPG) and shot blocker (1.8 BPG) and Rajon Rondo is averaging a team-high 11.8 assists and 3.4 steals in six games. Jrue Holiday is the Sixers' leading scorer, averaging 18.2 points, and leads the team, averaging 4.7 assists. Spencer Hawes is averaging 8.0 rebounds, Andre Iguodala averages 1.8 steals and Elton Brand is averaging 2.5 blocks through the opening round.
Celtics Vs. 76ers, Game 1: Boston rode Kevin Garnett (29 points, 11 rebounds) and Rajon Rondo (13 points, 12 rebounds, 17 assits) to a comeback 92-91 win over Philadelphia in Game 1 of the series on Saturday night at TD Garden. Paul Pierce scored 14 and Ray Allen scored 12. Andre Iguodala finished with 19 points, six rebounds and six assists for Philly.
Storyline: The opening game of the series went how most of the Celtics' doubters thought it would -- that is, until the fourth quarter. Philly simply outdid Boston through the first three quarters, but a Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett-led rally in the fourth quarter led Boston to an exciting comeback win. The end result is what matters most, but the Celtics simply can't let what happened in the first three quarters occur again during stretches in Game 2. Boston, while experienced, likely won't have the energy to make these kinds of comebacks game in and game out, making slowing down the youthful Sixers in the early going a priority. If they can keep the score close heading into the fourth, while managing the minutes and fouls of their stars, the Celtics will position themselves to strike in the fourth.
Players To Watch: Five players will enter Monday's game with injuries (at least listed ones -- they all probably have some injuries). For the Celtics, it's Paul Pierce, Ray Allen and Avery Bradley. For the Sixers, they only have two players in doubt in Thaddeus Young and Elton Brand. Needless to say, the Celtics' injuries could hurt them more. Rajon Rondo will, as always, be a key for the Celtics in this game. When he's clicking -- as he was in the fourth quarter of Game 1 -- Boston is very hard to beat. Also, containing Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams will be essential for the green teamers.
Prediction: Boston is gaining steam as it moves on in these playoffs, and the momentum is on their side after storming back from 13 points down in Game 1 to clinch the win. With one more game at home before heading out on the road, expect the Celtics to do what it takes to emerge with the cushion of a 2-0 series lead. Final Score: Celtics 94, Sixers 82.
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