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Celtics find Fountain of Youth (or offense), rout 76ers in Game 3

May 16, 2012, 10:33 PM EDT

Paul Pierce AP

For the first couple of games, Boston looked old and injured, with Philly’s aggressive defense forcing improvisation and a lot of missed shots.

In Game 3, Boston got their groove back. From 2008.

Boston attacked the paint early with post ups, Kevin Garnett could not miss a turnaround jumper on his way to 27 points (on just 17 shots) and Boston blew the game open in the second and third quarters in its way to an easy 107-91 win. Boston now leads the series 2-1.

Boston came out with a new aggressiveness and level of energy at both ends for this game. As veteran teams can do. Philly, a young team learning to play at this level, seemed taken aback by the new level of intensity. That is their task if they want to keep pushing Boston — the Sixers have to match that level, and they have to play better on the defensive end again. Boston shot 51.9 percent on the night and 45.5 percent from three and they will win every time if that happens.

This game was different from the opening tip, with both teams flowing better on offense. But after a couple games where Boston spent more time in the Rajon Rondo-led improvisational Celtics offense that Doc Rivers calls “random,” Boston got into their sets and into the paint early and often in Game 3.

“We (established ourselves in the post) the right way, I thought we did it through execution,” Rivers said after the game on an interview broadcast on NBA TV. “We did it through space. I thought in the first two games we tried to do it, but we did it out of random, and our spacing was poor. (Tonight) we also did it through posting the ball early, we posted Paul (Pierce 24 points on 17 shots) up early and we posted Kevin up early. And that’s the right way to play. That’s who we are. Now the shots have to go in, that makes you better. But at least the shots were the shots we wanted rather than the ones, because our offense was so poor, that we had to take. I thought that was the big difference.”

Pierce really set the tone at the end of the first quarter when the guy dragging around a leg with a sprained knee for a couple games drove and threw down two dunks, one over Thaddeus Young.

But Philly still had the lead 33-28 after one quarter as they matched Boston shot for shot. In the second the Celtics got back to playing their kind of defense — the Sixers had just 16 points in the second quarter. Boston had 32. It was an 11 point lead for Boston at the half (KG and Pierce each had 17 points already) and Philly scored just 17 in the third quarter as the game became a laugher.

This game was the best energy and aggressiveness Boston had played with this series. Philly, a young team learning to play at this level, seemed taken aback by the new level of intensity.

Rondo was impressive all night and had 23 points and 13 assists. Mikhail Pietrus knocked down some threes and had 13 off the bench. Philly’s stars struggled with Andre Iguodala taking just six shots while the previously hot Evan Turner was 1-10. The bright spot was Young coming off the bench for 22.

The two questions for Game 4 is can Boston keep this up — the energy level yes but the shooting likely cools off some — and can the Sixers raise their game to match? Game 4 is not likely to be a blowout like this gain, but it’s not going to return all the way to grind-it-out Game 2 either. The Sixers are going to have to adapt

  1. bleedgreen4life - May 16, 2012 at 11:00 PM

    I’ll give credit to Boston. They set the tone for the game and made the Sixers match their tempo and they couldn’t, besides the first quarter. I was at the game and Boston absolutely took the crowd out in the 3rd quarter. Sixers gotta have a short memory cause if they lose game 4 the series ends in Boston.

  2. patriotsdiehard - May 16, 2012 at 11:08 PM

    My prediction when this series began, Philadelphia only gets one win.

  3. kacapaco - May 16, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    It was a game for 1 quarter only. I felt bad for the 76ers fan when the left the venue early 4th quarter. 76er better tone up and make us watch a game not blowout.

  4. phillynac - May 16, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    It is funny that anytime a team wins a game, the fans come on this site and talk about how the series is over. Have you guys ever watched a series in any sport before? Both teams usually win games. This series isnt over and lets not forget that the Sixers best Boston in the Garden once and had a good chance to do it twice so the C’s are not a lock at home like they were 3 years ago. Relax people, it is a long series.

    • passerby23 - May 17, 2012 at 1:04 AM

      I get your point and I agree fans are so fickle and changeable, but you get the feeling Boston has figured out Philly. If they actually lock in on defense the way they are capable like tonight and just shoot decently (they don’t have to put up 107), they are in another league. As Charles Barkley pointed out, it seemed like the Celtics had no respect for Philly in the first two games. They respect them now. I’m going to predict Philly comes out and wins Game 4 in a spirited effort, but Boston wins the series in 6 as I originally predicted.

      • comeonnowguys - May 17, 2012 at 8:56 AM

        Well, that and what we saw in Game 2 was Philly’s ceiling, which wasn’t very high.

    • bozosforall - May 17, 2012 at 10:16 AM


      You underestimate the ignorance and insecurity of Boston fans. They HAVE to come onto the Internet and make such claims…because, outside of their mercenary teams, they have no lives. A bunch of sad, weak losers in life is what they are.

      • phaden27 - May 17, 2012 at 11:07 AM

        So what’s that say about the guy who logs on to rant about Boston fans? 😀

      • bozosforall - May 20, 2012 at 2:28 PM

        rant? More like laugh at you fools. And every response I get shows that I hit the mark.

      • phaden27 - May 21, 2012 at 11:41 AM

        If that’s how you have to justify the pleasure you derive from logging onto a sports website and attacking people you’ll never meet through comments, well, more power to you friend. 😀

      • bozosforall - May 23, 2012 at 10:12 AM

        Feel free to similarly berate the New England sports fans who have been doing the same for most of the last century, here or otherwise. Payback is a b!tch.

      • pistolpeatear - May 17, 2012 at 12:06 PM

        Gotta love the comments from bozo, the irony is great. Talks about bostons sad Fans/teams and how they have no lives and have to come here to post yet that’s all he does is come on here to post in every Boston related post. Wait for it guys, here comes a not so clever comment about my handle name….

      • bozosforall - May 17, 2012 at 12:09 PM

        What a little crybaby you are. And posting here sporadically throughout the day is merely a diversion, idiot, not any indictment on my life.

        I’ll pass on the nickname, since you don’t merit my wasting any time coming up with one.

      • pistolpeatear - May 18, 2012 at 1:50 PM

        haha yes my initial post just screams i’m a crybaby. it must be fun getting all worked up over the internet. it seems hard for you to keep the sand out of your vagina while in the face of legitimate criticism

      • bozosforall - May 18, 2012 at 3:27 PM

        The only ones here with sand in their vaginas are the hordes of New England sports fans that continually spin every criticism of their teams or of themselves. Your collective responses to my needling are proof positive of that. Here’s a solution…if you don’t like what I am saying, then IGNORE it. Otherwise, I am striking a chord in your psyche, a chord that resonates truthfully, though you won’t admit it publicly.

      • pistolpeatear - May 18, 2012 at 3:53 PM

        if you don’t like what I am saying, then IGNORE it. Otherwise, I am striking a chord in your psyche, a chord that resonates truthfully, though you won’t admit it publicly.

      • bozosforall - May 18, 2012 at 3:55 PM

        I don’t CARE what you are saying. I’m only responding to tick you off more. Looks like it’s working.

      • pistolpeatear - May 18, 2012 at 4:01 PM

        but I don’t CARE what you are saying, and I’m only responding to tick you off more. Looks like it’s working.

      • bozosforall - May 18, 2012 at 4:03 PM

        Well, what do you know? pistolpeat is a parrot. Figures, given that he mindlessly parrots the company line when it comes to the Pats.

      • pistolpeatear - May 18, 2012 at 4:09 PM

        That joke would maybe be good if i was a New England fan, well better luck next time. I enjoy seeing delusional fans from any area get flamed. I’d love to see you come up with or use some better jokes.

      • bozosforall - May 18, 2012 at 4:19 PM

        Why waste “better jokes” on losers like you or any of the New England sports fans? And if you want to see delusional fans, keep hanging around the New England sports blogs, as their fan base is the most delusional out there.

      • andyhr17 - May 17, 2012 at 12:09 PM

        As far as I can tell you just sit at your computer waiting for posts about the Celtics so you can rant. Maybe you should hold off on the name calling and judging of people.

        I understand, though. You’re just upset that your Lakers are down 0-2. You just HAVE to come on here and post your canned “Celtics aren’t winning anything this year or anytime in the future” remark.

      • bozosforall - May 17, 2012 at 1:13 PM

        I’ve been saying that the Celtics won’t win anything this year ALL YEAR LONG, Boston idiot.

        And the last fan base that should be telling anyone to “hold off on the name calling and judging of people” is the New England fan base, part of the most judgmental and hypocritical populace in America.

      • j0esixpack - May 17, 2012 at 1:33 PM

        It’s easy to say that any one team – especially one consisting primarily of aging, injured veterans – won’t win it all bozo.

        31 out of 32 times you’d be right. Don’t mistake that for any “expertise” posting comments on a computer in your Mom’s basement.

        Instead tell us which team you DO think is going to win it all – it’d carry more weight if you went back and showed us your Championship prediction months ago – but let’s hear your pick NOW even with the benefit of being halfway through the 2nd round.

        (I’m expecting either chirping crickets from bozo again – or perhaps one of his patented homo-erotic fantasies involving athletes or perhaps even his fantasies involving fellow PBT posters)

      • bozosforall - May 17, 2012 at 1:48 PM

        The Spurs stand the best chance of winning it all.

        And I’ll leave the “basement posting expertise” to you, j0esuxd!cks.

        BTW, there are only 30 teams in the NBA (not 32). Some basketball fan you are.

      • j0esixpack - May 17, 2012 at 1:46 PM

        Oops – typo…

        I meant 29 out of 30 times (I’m stuck in the NFL mindset with 32 teams)

      • bozosforall - May 17, 2012 at 1:55 PM

        More like you are an idiot.

      • andyhr17 - May 17, 2012 at 2:36 PM

        Does your mom come down to the basement to bring you lunch and snacks or are you responsible for making your own food? Completely unrelated to this post, just curious.

      • bozosforall - May 17, 2012 at 4:18 PM

        Are all your attempts at insulting humor older than dinosaur sh!t?

      • j0esixpack - May 17, 2012 at 7:26 PM

        Ah… Bozo doesn’t disappoint… You can always count on him to evoke one of his homosexual fantasies – trying to cover up his own latent urges by gay bashing.

        He’s like that guy in “American Beauty” always speaking ill of gays because he’s one himself.

        Bozo – you “outed” yourself here a long time ago… You’re just the last to realize it.

      • bozosforall - May 18, 2012 at 1:02 PM

        The mere fact that YOU so strongly object only shows your own ill will towards gays..thereby “outing” yourself by your own attempts to refute my comments. Your lame accusations are a double-edged sword, j0etheidiot.

      • bozosforall - May 18, 2012 at 4:25 PM

        I’ll lay off on the “namecalling and judging of people” when I see it happening on a regular basis on the New England side of the coin. In other words, don’t hold your breath.

    • j0esixpack - May 17, 2012 at 11:34 AM

      I’d agree – and furthermore, in a weird twist, Philly almost seems to face more pressure from fickle fans and be less comfortable at home, than on the road, where they expect and even thrive on the boos from the stands.

      What can’t be denied is that both Philly and Boston have shown they can win on the road.

      The playoffs and championships are never REALLY about who the best team in the NBA is – it’s who the best and healthiest team in the NBA is RIGHT NOW.

      And right now, if the Celtics can maintain health and the veterans can dig deep to find the energy to play at last night’s level, they look to be in good shape.

      But this is all gravy for Celtics fans – this team could have been broken up or even failed to make the playoffs, let alone look like a contender in late May. It’s been a fun season and even the injuries suffered earlier in the season have given some younger guys a chance to develop and contribute.

  5. wilkisoft - May 17, 2012 at 12:38 AM

    Yes, I believe we have all watched a series before. To question our intelligence only shows your lack thereof. It’s not a “long series”, it’s a best of 7….which is now a best of 4. The odds are not in the favor of the Sixers. While I’m not picking the Celtics to win it all, I do believe they are the more hungry team of the two – not to mention, they want to prove they can still run with the elite teams. With that said, no one needs to relax. You should panics bc your Sixers haven’t looked all that great.

  6. lucidsportsfan - May 17, 2012 at 3:33 AM

    I think it’s about time we stop being surprised by “retro” performances from Pierce and KG. The guys can still play.

  7. jtchernak - May 17, 2012 at 7:39 AM

    Refs were making all the calls for the 76ers and we still won

  8. therealtrenches - May 17, 2012 at 7:57 AM

    They can still play, of course. But they don’t do so every night. They had to really turn on the jets to do what they did last night. Can they do that every night? The recent past suggests not. The sixers, meanwhile, have to avoid letting this get inside their heads and play their game. If they do that, they give themselves a chance.

    • j0esixpack - May 17, 2012 at 8:09 AM

      I agree. If they have to play games on consecutive nights during the playoffs they’re in trouble.

  9. phillynac - May 17, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    Philly and Boston are closer than what people are letting on. Don’t give me that the C’s didn’t respect them. After winning game 1 by 1 point, they should have been ready for game 2. The Sixers played them tough all year, blowing them out twice as well. The Sixers are a young team who were lost in the moment last night. They play very good defense and wont give up 60 in a half very often. Expect a very different team on Friday night. Is it enough? Maybe not, but they are not that far from Boston. Sixers are rising as the C’s are on their way down.

    • comeonnowguys - May 17, 2012 at 11:13 AM

      This is exactly the false hope Philly fans should have been guarding against after that dreadful series against the Bulls.

    • passerby23 - May 17, 2012 at 12:57 PM

      I like the Sixers, but whether they continue their rise depends on what they do in the off-season. I don’t think they have the salary cap space to sign a prolific scorer, which is what they really need. It might be tough to retain Iduodala. Yes, the Celtics will likely be broken up, but it’s clear they are the better team when they are dialed in. I don’t expect any more blowouts, but you have to wonder how far a team can go who struggle to score and have no closer at the end of games. They happened to beat a Bulls team who had the exact same problems without Rose.

  10. bradyisbetterthanrodgers - May 17, 2012 at 10:51 AM

    bozo, how are the lakers doing?

    • jimeejohnson - May 17, 2012 at 11:05 AM

      The Lakers are ok; Bozo is currently recovering from his lobotomy and castration.

      • bozosforall - May 18, 2012 at 3:30 PM

        Yet still smarter and more virile than the typical limp-wristed New England sports fan.

  11. mungman69 - May 17, 2012 at 10:58 AM

    Hey: jtchernak, What position do you play? What’s with this we bullstuff?

  12. meroyero - May 17, 2012 at 11:01 AM

    “Philly, a young team learning to play at this level, seemed taken aback by the new level of intensity.”

    you said that twice at 2 different parts of the article.

  13. phillynac - May 17, 2012 at 11:58 AM

    I agree. It is gravy for the Sixers as well. This is a fun series between 2 rivals who don’t have much of a chance to go any further.

    • andyhr17 - May 17, 2012 at 12:11 PM

      Maybe you haven’t been paying attention to the Heat/Paces series.

  14. 11jlacy - May 17, 2012 at 1:27 PM

    The celtics made them cats look like kids on the court, they should have played harder LAKERS TO mildew or barbque!!!!

  15. buddyleefarnsworth - May 17, 2012 at 2:16 PM


    When you will stop feeding into Bozo? If he comments ignore it. He is a complete moron who is just envious of Boston fans and never has anything genuine to state.

    Just do a google search on his name. The dude clearly has no life becasue all he does is troll sites and stir stuff up. If you ignore him he will go away.

    Bozo states :
    “You underestimate the ignorance and insecurity of Boston fans. They HAVE to come onto the Internet and make such claims…because, outside of their mercenary teams, they have no lives. A bunch of sad, weak losers in life is what they are.”

    Seems like you are talking about yourself dude. Go hang with the Occupy morons or better yet get a job.

    • bozosforall - May 18, 2012 at 3:32 PM

      No. I’m talking about the most insecure fan base on the planet. Then again, having to go through nearly a century of your beloved baseball teams getting OWNED by their chief rival would do that to generations of sports fans in any one region.

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