Rajon Rondo 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 Saturday.
Event: Celtics (7-6) vs. 76ers (7-6) - NBA Playoffs 2012, Second Round, Game 7.
Date/Time: Saturday, May 26, 2012 - 8:00 p.m. EST.
Location: TD Garden (Capacity: 18,624), Boston, MA.
Broadcast Info: Saturday's game between the Celtics and 76ers will be televised nationally on ESPN. 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), Mickael Pietrus (knee), Greg Stiemsma (foot), Keyon Dooling (sick), Avery Bradley (shoulder - out for season).
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.
Celtics Vs. Sixers, Game 5: Boston trailed by three, 50-47, at halftime before Brandon Bass had the game of his career, scoring 18 of his game-high 27 points in the decisive third quarter as the Celtics rallied past the Sixers for a 101-85 win in Game 5 of the series, giving Boston a 3-2 series lead. Elton Brand scored 19 and Lavoy Allen added 12 points for Philly.
Celtics Vs. Sixers, Game 6: Never comfortable on the offensive end, the Celtics struggled to shoot 33.3 percent on the way to an ugly 82-75 loss to the Sixers in Game 6, evening the series at three games a piece. Jrue Holiday scored 20 and Paul Pierce had 24 points.
Storyline: Well, here we are. Six games have been played, and each side has three wins. Now, forty eight minutes sit between the Celtics, Sixers and the Eastern Conference Finals. Experience favors Boston, but youth and athleticism favor Philadelphia. Oh, and have we mentioned the injuries? Boston lost its defensive captain, Avery Bradley, to a season-ending shoulder injury, for which he underwent surgery on Friday. Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Mickael Pietrus and Greg Stiemsma are also banged up, meaning the Celtics will need others to step up to get the job done. The problem is, they are pretty weak in the depth department. All of these problems could mean big, big trouble for Boston. Then again, in these win or go home situation, it seems like the Celtics always find that extra gear. Nothing is a given, of course. This game will likely come down to whoever has one final run in them.
Players To Watch: Avery Bradley is out. Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Mickael Pietrus and Greg Stiemsma are pretty banged up, too. That means that the Celtics will need others to answer the call. Naturally, the top two candidates are playoff MVP Kevin Garnett and the triple-double machine, Rajon Rondo. In order for Boston to move on, Garnett and Rondo will almost certainly need to have have big games, and the Celtics will need some production from Pierce, too. On the other bench, Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams and Andre Iguodala will set the pace, and if they go off, they'll be tough, if not impossible, to stop.
Prediction: Simply put, you can't. Predicting a Game 7 is tough. It's a toss up. Buckle up.
@ Boston Celtics
Saturday, May 26, 2012, 8:00 PM EDT
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