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 night.
Event: Celtics (6-4) vs. 76ers (6-4) - NBA Playoffs 2012, Second Round, Game 5.
Date/Time: Monday, May 21, 2012 - 7:00 p.m. EST.
Location: TD Garden (Capacity: 18,624), Boston, MA.
Broadcast Info: Monday night's game between the Celtics and 76ers will be televised nationally on TNT. 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).
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.
Celtics Vs. 76ers, Game 2: Boston again struggled through parts of the first three quarters, but got hot at the right time in the fourth. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough as the Sixers fended off the green team to even the series at 1-1. Jrue Holiday scored a game-high 18 while Kevin Garnett scored 11 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter and had 12 rebounds.
Celtics Vs. 76ers, Game 3: Kevin Garnett (27 points, 13 rebounds), Paul Pierce (24 points, 12 rebounds, three steals) and Rajon Rondo (23 points, 14 assists) carried the Celtics to a statement 107-91 win and a 2-1 series lead. Thaddeus Young scored 22 points for Philly.
Celtics Vs. 76ers, Game 4: All the momentum the Celtics earned in Game 3 was wiped away after Boston built a 14-0 lead and later led by 18 points in the second half, only to see the 76ers climb all the way back and post a 92-83 win in Game 4 to even the series at two games. Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner each scored 16. Paul Pierce scored 24 for Boston.
Storyline: Well, that was a letdown. Boston had a tremendous opportunity to suck the life out of Philadelphia and put them in an insurmountable 3-1 series hole. The Celtics even opened the game on a 20-5 run and led by 18 points in the second half. Nevertheless, they lost, and we have a series again. Now, the Celtics -- instead of being able to wrap things up in Game 5 on Monday night and get some much needed rest for the Eastern Conference Finals -- have a best-of-three series against a newly determined Sixers team. Not the best scenario in the world, is it? Still, the Celtics have a strong chance to win the series, with two of the potential three games being played in Boston, including Game 5. However, Game 5 is a virtual must-win for the Celts, who can ill afford to return to Philly facing elimination. You better believe that the green team knows this, and that's why you'll probably see a performance like that in Game 4. Still, it's the playoffs, and you can't guarantee anything.
Players To Watch: The Sixers were able to limit Kevin Garnett, and the rest of the Celtics for that matter, in the paint for most of their Game 4 win. Garnett will need to return to his playoff MVP self, the same version that has shown up for most of the Celtics' postseason. Paul Pierce played well in Game 4 despite his knee injury, leading all scorers with 24, and should be counted on to have a strong offensive game. Rajon Rondo's performance will, as always, go a long way in deciding the outcome of Game 5. For Philly, Andre Iguodala needs to play as well as he did down the stretch in Game 4, and the likes of Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams will all but certainly be thorns in the Celtics' side.
Prediction: It's not over yet, but if the Celtics lose Game 5, there's a pretty good chance they could be eliminated in Game 6 back in Philadelphia. Boston, playing on its home court, needs to take care of business. Now. Final Score: Celtics 98, Sixers 87.
@ Boston Celtics
Monday, May 21, 2012, 7:00 PM EDT
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