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Celtics 92 Sixers 91: Tell us you didn’t see this coming

May 12, 2012, 11:25 PM EDT

Philadelphia 76ers  v Boston Celtics - Game One Getty Images

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before.

The Boston Celtics play badly for 2.5 quarters, scrap and grind their way to get the deficit into reasonable territory, then turn on the jets while the other team does a series of remarkably stupid things, going away from everything that had worked the entire game through, eventually losing as the Boston crowd goes berserk.

Celtics 92, Sixers 91, Boston wins Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series.

The Sixers have a lot to feel good about, sure. Andre Iguodala played a phenomenal game, hounding Paul Pierce, scoring 19 points, adding 6 rebounds and 6 assists, including some dazzling passes. Spencer Hawes gave good effort against Kevin Garnett who continues his playoffs-MVP-level play. Doug Collins had some effective lineup adjustments and the Sixers really pushed the tempo. There were times it looked like they could break it open

They did not. And once it was within range, you knew what would happen. The Celtics simply took over with poise and defense. And the Sixers? Well they started doing things, like, oh, say this:


Yup. It’s not the number. It’s where.

Lou Williams was talked about as a Sixth Man of the Year candidate for much of the year, at least as a “if not Harden” runner-up. But he showed in Game 1 the “trick or treat” he comes with. Great floater? Absolutely. Spot-up threes? Yes, sir. Mid-range pull-up after mid-range pull-up? All the time. It’s the same offense that sunk the Hawks, and the Sixers, after passing brilliantly for 2.5 quarters, ran willingly into the arms of predictable offense against a defense primed to encourage it.

It’s not easy to get good shots on Boston. But the Sixers too easily handed it over.

So on a night where the Celtics didn’t play well, where Boston’s crowd was catatonic for 3/4 of the game, where Paul Pierce didn’t play well, Ray Allen didn’t feel well, and the Sixers made a great series of decisions for much of the game, Boston walks out with the win. This is the pattern, and we’ve seen it over and over and over again.

Boring old Boston, ripping them apart piece by piece.

More than anything, the game shows the incredible enigmatic brilliance of Rajon Rondo. Rondo didn’t play well. That’s just something you’d have to watch the game to see. Because when Rajon Rondo plays badly, he can still have this line: 13 points, 12 rebounds, 17 assists, and 4 steals, along with three plays at the end of the game to clinch it for Boston. Rondo looked disinterested and disgusted with having to play for most of the game. He also keyed the comeback, hit the shot to give the Celtics the lead late in the game, and closed out the Sixers like they were a little brother. He missed nine of 15 shots and had seven turnovers. But he still produces, still closes, and still wins the game. And then gives a snotty post-game interview. That’s Rondo.

So Boston wins Game 1, as expected, and despite struggling, still won. Even when things don’t go Boston’s way this postseason, they go their way, or they make them go their way just enough. A big win for Boston, and their path to the Eastern Conference Finals is down to 3.

  1. Mr. Wright 212 - May 12, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    Along with the refs allowing them to hack late without impunity. Yeah I saw it coming.

    • passerby23 - May 13, 2012 at 2:44 AM

      Give me a break. The refs didn’t cost Philly this game. I think you also mean to say they allowed them to hack WITH impunity.

      Bad sign for the Sixers. They played great most of the game, while the Celtics played poorly, missing wide open jumpers for most of the game, and still pulling it out. Rondo is the difference maker. Philly is gritty and won’t quit, which will make this a series, but Celtics in 6.

    • infectorman - May 13, 2012 at 8:20 AM

      whatever, Your football Giants are still injury-faking cheaters. at least you got THAT goin’ for ya

      • bozosforall - May 14, 2012 at 10:28 AM

        Injury faking cheaters? Still waiting for the NFL to hand down even one single penalty or fine.

        Meanwhile, your NE Cheatriots were handed the largest penalty ever, at that time, for the Spygate fiasco, an incident of CONFIRMED CHEATING by the NFL.

        Go suck on your boyfriend’s sour grapes, AIDSinfectedman.

        Mr. Wright’s team OWNS your CHOKER Cheatriots when it matters most…2-0 in the Super Bowl.

  2. dannythebisforbeast - May 13, 2012 at 12:04 AM

    Hardly any comments yet ESPN will cover it 9 different ways. Is it me or do they push the Nba down your throat but it’s not nearly as exciting as they try to make it out to me. Watched end of caps rangers before I flipped over to my home team. Btw just in time to watch them completely collapse.

  3. asublimeday - May 13, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    Can’t wait to see the Philly fan tears all over this board when they’re eliminated.

    • jblah - May 14, 2012 at 6:55 AM

      why would they? We are already further than anyone predicted. Would you honestly have said that the sixers could have beat the bulls?

  4. dirtybird2020 - May 13, 2012 at 12:53 AM

    What philly fans?? Havent seen one all year, they cameout

    • bleedgreen4life - May 13, 2012 at 10:45 AM

      been here all year. I hate the bandwagon fans.

  5. jagwar73 - May 13, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    It’s going to be difficult for the Sixers to beat the Celtics and the referees!

    • andyhr17 - May 13, 2012 at 9:19 AM

      Actually by the rules of the game you’re only required to score more points than the opposition. Sixers should concentrate on that.

  6. phillynac - May 13, 2012 at 1:14 AM

    Why would we cry? The Sixers made it farther then anyone expected. This series is gravy and they gave the celtics all they could handle in game 1 at the Garden. The winner of this series will be eaten for lunch by the Heat anyway. I was very encouraged by the Sixers performance tonight.

  7. kacapaco - May 13, 2012 at 1:17 AM

    By winning the tough 76ers while star players are struggling, It all shows how great the Celtics are. They don’t run fast doesn’t mean they are boring. They execute when it matters.

  8. 20dollardinners - May 13, 2012 at 1:28 AM

    The refs again gave the game to the Celtics… Sigh

    • andyhr17 - May 13, 2012 at 9:09 AM

      Really? Because I thought it was all the missed shots by the Sixers and all the made shots by the Celtics.

  9. mornelithe - May 13, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    Just out of curiosity, because I simply don’t know the full rules behind flagrant fouls and such…. When the 76er grabbed Garnett’s jersey with both hands and literally slammed him on the floor, why wouldn’t that have been called a Flagrant? It looked intentional, Garnett did not flip himself and the replays clearly showed that the guy was tossing him.

    Celtics still one, so this isn’t a gripe, I’m just curious about what constitutes a flagrant, I guess?

    Beyond that, much to be encouraged about for the Celtics…not so much the 76ers. As Matt stated, they played pretty poorly for 2.5 quarters, missing shot after shot after shot, and were still able to keep it close enough to close it out in the end. I don’t really think the 76er’s can depend on that kind of futile performance to continue for the rest of the series, so if the Celtics do manage to show up one of these games…it’s going to be fairly smooth sailing.

    That aside, Iguodala was hitting tons of shots, so was Hawes. They’re not a team the Celtics should take lightly, even in lieu of what transpired tonight. I was thoroughly entertained by the game so…good job to both teams.

    • jmclarkent - May 13, 2012 at 8:41 AM

      When the 76er grabbed Garnett’s jersey with both hands and literally slammed him on the floor, why wouldn’t that have been called a Flagrant?

      As long as they do not lead with the helmet it is considered a clean tackle.

      • mornelithe - May 13, 2012 at 1:06 PM

        Awesome lol. But, I was being kinda serious, I’ve seen lesser altercations result in a Flagrant, and I’ve seen worse….so it’s just confusing if you’re not famliar with every single nuance of the rulebook.

        Thanks for the laugh though, that was good =)

    • tfoz5150 - May 13, 2012 at 9:59 PM

      I think they simply got locked up going for the rebound. Turner is not known for throwing 7 footers around usually. Other than that I think we have a series. It was a hard fought game between two familiar bitter rivals. I’m excited to see the rivalry renewed at least for the present time.

      • mornelithe - May 13, 2012 at 11:56 PM

        Well, I can’t find a replay of it, but it looked pretty evident in the replays that both of Turner’s hands had fistfuls of Garnett’s jersey. But whichever, as I said, it’s not a huge issue because nobody was hurt on the play. Just seemed rather unnecessary.

  10. giselleisasucubus - May 13, 2012 at 1:36 AM

    Sixers -16 Fouls, 20 FT’s
    Celtics-15 Fouls, 19 FT’s
    Delusional much, Celtic haters? Learn the game.

    • andyhr17 - May 13, 2012 at 9:09 AM

      No no no. Haven’t you learned? When the Celtics win, it was because it’s a conspiracy and the refs were in on it. When they lose it’s because they’re old. Don’t try to talk logic in here. You will have better luck yelling at a wall and changing it’s opinion on something.

      • jimeejohnson - May 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM

        Except when the Celtics play the Lakers, and lose. Then, it’s RIGGED according to some Boston whiner. Just go to the Boston Globe online, and you will see this LOSER still griping about Game 7 of the 2009-10 championship series. There are plenty of these sore losers who think the season is rigged, unless, of course, their team wins it.

  11. mylkchocllatte - May 13, 2012 at 1:43 AM

    @ phillynac, yeah just like they ate Dallas for lunch? Lol… Boston is in a zone. They don’t have 2 stars they have TEAM!!! Come and get some … GO GREEN!!!

    • tfoz5150 - May 13, 2012 at 10:00 PM

      1 pt. zone.

  12. mungman69 - May 13, 2012 at 6:19 AM

    This is how the Sixers played for most of the season. They get leads and can’t hold them. They rarely win close games. The Celtics won this one fair and square. Rondo must be the best point guard in the NBA.

    • scalfor3 - May 13, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      chris paul says hi. rondo is second tho

      • andyhr17 - May 13, 2012 at 6:56 PM

        Rondo bumps referees. Paul falls backwards like he just got punched if a referee touches him. Advantage: Rondo.

    • tfoz5150 - May 13, 2012 at 10:02 PM

      Did you see the bulls series? Close games

  13. dirtmcgirt413 - May 13, 2012 at 7:14 AM

    Mr wright… Do you watch these games? I see you post on every celtics article with what seems like little knowledge of how the games actually went down…. Atlanta fan I assume? Hey, how about this…. I’ll allow you to pretend your a celtics fan so you have a team in the playoffs… Your welcome. Now quit your crying and take your lumps like a good sport, hate your team for losing, not mine for winning. OUT!

  14. mylkchocllatte - May 13, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    Phillynac … Yeah right, just like Miami did Dallas? LMBO!!! The Celtics are in a zone. One game at a time. Just remember the bulls lost rose. The C’s r banged up. You’re lucky to be here. Come and get some. GO GREEN!!!

  15. tfoz5150 - May 13, 2012 at 10:07 AM

    Except each game we beat the Bulls was a close game and this game could’ve gone either way until the end. It shows that Philly can go up there and take a game.

  16. bleedgreen4life - May 13, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    Series doesn’t start until someone wins on the road and I don’t see Boston coming to Philly and winning. Considering in the regular season they lost 2 games by a combined 60 pts at wells fargo. It’s one game. Don’t forget Philly was down 1-0 to Chicago too.

  17. mungman69 - May 13, 2012 at 10:57 AM

    All fans are bandwagon fans: “Everybody loves a winner”.

  18. acdc363 - May 13, 2012 at 11:37 AM

    Celtics in 4!

    • acdc363 - May 14, 2012 at 9:50 PM

      Well I was wrong but I’m still giving both these posts a thumbs up!

  19. phillynac - May 13, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    What does Dallas last year have to do with the Celtics this year? They beat the Hawks without their big man and half of Josh Smith. They have a 0% chance against the Heat. I can’t believe the Celtics fans are popping out their chest because they beat the 8th seeded Sixers who were well under .500 the last half of the season, by 1 point at home. I guess they must be wearing those ugly green colored glasses. Whoever wins this series is DUN, done within 5 games to Miami. Time for a reality check Celtic fans. Your team is no longer any good.

  20. jimmymarlinsfan - May 13, 2012 at 1:25 PM

    Celtics don’t have the legs to win this series in 4…but either way whichever will indeed be of little consequence as the heat are going to crush them…in case anyone didn’t notice, 06 finals aside, the Mavs have always had the Heat’s number…there isn’t a team like that left…Lebron absolutely crapped on the Celtics last year in the playoffs and anyone who doesn’t see a repeat coming is delusional and the heat can beat the thunder/spurs in a 7 game series…

  21. dirtmcgirt413 - May 13, 2012 at 8:17 PM

    Jimmy… Refresh my memory… In years past, in the playoffs, how does “king” James fair against the celtics? Ya, not so good. Ok, ok, then lets just see this year… Regular season… Your heat killed at home………ohhhh except for that beat down by the c’s…. Well just have to see… Not saying its going to be Boston. But I am saying no team is any more dangerous than another at this point in the year. And James has choked more often than not, playoffs…regular season, whenever it’s on the line he ef’n turtles. OVER RATED!!!! Hahahahahahahahahaha

  22. phillyphan83 - May 14, 2012 at 1:37 AM

    stop making excuses, the refs did NOT lose us that game. we had it and gave it away. however, if ANYONE doesn’t think this is a template for the whole series, then clearly you don’t know these two teams; 2nd and 3rd this year defensively. no ones scoring 100 in this series.

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