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How the Sixers defense stopped Boston cold down the stretch… again

May 19, 2012, 2:08 PM EDT

In Game 2, it was this masterpiece that sealed the deal for the Sixers. In Game 4, it was the Sixers once again shutting down the lauded Boston clutch offense on a key late possession to steal the win. Andre Iguodala‘s jumpers were masterful. Lou Williams‘ offense was crazytown. The Sixers momentum was huge. But up 2 with 1:30 to play, the Sixers made a defensive stand that lead to Iguodala’s dagger three. And it once again showed the defensive chops of this Sixers squad.

1. At the 8 second mark, Rondo has beaten his man and forced the weak-side help defender to come over. Bradley has cut to the basket and is going to have an easy reverse if there is such a thing) or stop-and-layup, but Rondo tries to one-hand-it side-arm, and the pass goes behind him. That’s the first play they’ve run and there are 17 seconds on the clock.

2. They reset the play and look to go to their go-to move. Rondo-KG on the pick and pop. If the big defender hedges or traps Rondo, KG’s wide open from 18 where he has killed the Sixers all series. If they don’t, Rondo can get to the edge for a layup.

3. Philly, though, has finally learned their lesson. Lavoy Allen, who has done an incredible job in this series defensively, shows on Rondo, but Rondo loses his dribble and can’t get past him baseline. If Rondo doesn’t lose his dribble, with the faster defender entangled in KG’s screen, Rondo’s got a clear path to the bucket. This is huge for two reasons, because it forces Rondo to reset his dribble. In doing so, Allen has time to recover and switch back to KG, cutting off the pick and pop, which is the preferred option here. Second,  you’ll notice Thaddeus Young on the weakside start to creep over. Essentially, that hesitation cues Young to what’s going on.

3. Rondo’s running out of time so he has to just try and take his man off the dribble. Which he does, and his pivot and spin is typically a layup. But Rondo doesn’t have time to find Bradley cutting so Young has a clear shot at the block.

4. The final element in play here is really something to talk about, and that’s the lineup Doc Rivers had on the floor at this point. Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, and Avery Bradley in a three-guard lineup against a Philly frontcourt of Jrue Holiday, Louis Williams, and Andre Iguodala, with Thaddeus Young. Young’s versatility means he can play up, and as a result, the Celtics have no one to go down and get that offensive rebound. Had they had a traditional big in this set, they’re probably looking at a putback. They chose instead to space the floor, and it cost them. The Sixers get the board, Iggy nails the three, and the Sixers win the game.

  1. jtchernak - May 19, 2012 at 2:20 PM

    I think you forgot #5. Refs make idiotic call

  2. bleedgreen4life - May 19, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Ever since Iggy made those free throws to clinch game 6 against Chicago he’s been playing awesome. Lockdown defense (for the most part) on Pierce, he’s sinking his free throws, and hitting clutch shots in clutch moments like a 14mil/year player should. As for Elton Brand, he is god awful. For a guy who is making 18 mil/year he is averaging something like 2pts and 3 rebs in the first and second rounds. I understand he’s one of the leaders but enough is enough. It may be time for him to come off the bench giving 15 mins a game and let lavoy get the start. Defense is the key to this series and Philly really stepped it up in the 2nd half completely swaying the momentum of the series.

    • seanrocc - May 19, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      Love Iggy, but he’s not hitting his free throws. Shooting 50% from the line this series. But he has been clutch.

  3. bleedburgandyandgold - May 19, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    I almost turned this game off in the second quarter I’m glad I didn’t turned into one hell of a game

  4. phillynac - May 19, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    There was no call moron, it was a clean block. Wahhhhhh! Keep crying! Your team blew an 18 point lead and the your best scorer all series couldn’t hit the ocean from the shore. Sorry pal, not the refs fault.

  5. kacapaco - May 19, 2012 at 2:55 PM

    Credit 76ers but the blame lies on the Celtics who were even tired to walk let alone hustle. I’m a Celtic & don’t want this lousy group to go to finals and give me more stomachaches.

    • scalfor3 - May 20, 2012 at 2:22 PM

      you’re a sh!tty fan

    • giselleisasucubus - May 20, 2012 at 3:27 PM

      hey kaca, first off, unless you play or work for them, you are a Celtics FAN. Lousy group? What the hell have you been watching since 2007? If you were a real Celtics fan, you wouldnt be rooting for your team to not make the finals. It isnt pretty, but they win a lot more than they lose.

  6. phillyphan83 - May 19, 2012 at 4:05 PM

    Silly me, I read the headline and thought the content would actually give the sixers credit for the win, but alas, after reading 1-4, Matt clearly thinks Boston lost, more specificly, Rondo lost it for them. silly, silly me.

    • giselleisasucubus - May 20, 2012 at 3:30 PM

      That is exactly what happened. The Celtics missed shots in the second half and Rondo was dicking around instead of getting them into the offense. It’s not rocket science.

  7. mungman69 - May 19, 2012 at 4:48 PM

    HEY: jtchernak, you are the biggest crybaby in the world. Why don’t you grow up and move out of mommys basement?

    • jimeejohnson - May 20, 2012 at 12:44 PM

      Every team has fans lacking in character and integrity. They are sore L O S E R S and cannot accept defeat with grace. Some major wee-weeper in Boston still claims game 7 of the 2010 NBA Finals was “rigged” in the Lakers favor. This guy represents classless L O S E R S everywhere very well. Sports can humble some, but the arrogant a$$holes are sometimes such douchebags that nothing can humble them up short of DEATH!

  8. mungman69 - May 19, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    Matt Moore will never give credit to any Philly team. Just a minor leaguer whom is only allowed to write when the big boys have the weekend off.

    • jimeejohnson - May 20, 2012 at 12:50 PM

      Your comment is a wonderful example of negativity, condescension, and a lack of comprehension. Moore gives the Sixers plenty of the credit they deserve, but notes Celtics’ mistakes helped them lose.

      Speaking of minor league writers, you misused “whom”. Should have been “who”.

  9. mungman69 - May 20, 2012 at 2:03 PM

    Nope: Should of been “whom”. And if you have ever read Matt Moore’s comments on certain items, non basketball items, you would understand that he is a very biased writer.

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