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Sixers edge Celtics with (surprise!) balanced offense

May 19, 2012, 1:08 AM EST

Andre Iguodala, Jrue Holiday

The Philadelphia 76ers’ 92-83 Game 4 win over the Boston Celtics may be remembered for many things: altogether brutal offensive play, defensive flurries, or even a pair of huge Andre Iguodala makes in the closing minutes of a game where points were precious.

Or, more realistically, this is exactly the kind of game that might be swept under the playoff rug altogether. Our basketball memories don’t exactly cling to these 48-minute slogs, and though this was a crucial win for a Sixers team fighting for the possibility of a potential upset, it was ultimately the kind of contest that holds more weight in narrative worth than it does in strategic or aesthetic relevance.

And if this game really is destined to be forgotten in the playoff mass, I only ask that a few important footnotes be worked into the total playoff tales of these two battle-hardened clubs. Friday night brought no revelation or reinvention, but if we cast a light on certain spots, it did offer bits of valuable affirmation.

  • The Sixers, scoring in balance: As mentioned above, Iguodala (16 points) was able to dole out the killing blows, but his late-game success provided a stark counter to his early ineffectiveness. The same could be said of Evan Turner (16 points), who was slow to start but ultimately instrumental. Or Lou Williams (15 points), who orchestrated the offense to startling effectiveness in the second half. Throw in Thaddeus Young (12 points), who functioned as the Sixers’ most productive big, and Jrue Holiday (11 points), and Philadelphia managed five double-digit scorers in a game where points were fairly rare. There was no anchor for the Sixers, save their defensive system; Iguodala may get to play the hero after laughing last, but it was the collective and persistent work of his team’s offense that finally pulled this game out. Philly’s offense may not be the most secure out there, but they managed to knock down the vaunted Boston D in the second half — a feat which shouldn’t be taken lightly.
  • The Boston Celtics are — even at their best — utterly inconsistent: The Sixers are by no means some monument to basketball stability, but their prospects also aren’t considered as seriously as Boston’s are. As such, Philly is allowed its flaws, while Boston must answer for its own. Due to prestige and familiarity, the Celtics are still regarded as something resembling an elite team; they hold the same core and the same Celtic green, and as such we’re apparently supposed to pretend that they still have a notable chance at this year’s title. It’s simply not so, and this is one area in which Boston’s regular season performance is particularly telling. These Celtics are simply too erratic to take a series against a more proficient opponent; it’s one thing to take down the Atlanta Hawks or even these Sixers, but the prospect of toppling the Heat or Pacers is incredibly slim, and the chances of beating the Spurs or Thunder even more so given Boston’s volatility.
  • Kevin Garnett‘s carriage reverts to a pumpkin: KG had been among the finest performers of the postseason, and his offensive progression gave Boston’s offense a surprising buoyancy. With Garnett operating so consistently and efficiently from the block, the chronically injured Celtics were finally able to bank on the slightest offensive foundation, and build leads with something other than the strength of their ever-impressive defense. Not only did that defense break down a bit in Game 4, but so too did Garnett. KG finished the evening with nearly as many turnovers (seven) as points (nine), as the defense he anchors also ceded a ridiculous advantage to the creatively limited 76ers offense. Garnett’s hardly done yet, and if nothing else, we should expect the Celtics’ defense to bounce back in both spirit and scheme for Game 5 on their home floor. But it remains to be seen if he can hold up with such a substantial offensive workload going forward; Boston already relies on Garnett to maintain so much of their defense, and considering his wear and age, it wouldn’t be particularly surprising to see the Celtics’ star fade ever so slightly. As much of a unique joy as it’s been to see Garnett turn back the clock, these futile fights against time itself can only last so long.
  1. bozosforall - May 19, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    Great sports night. Celtics lose, Red Sox lose, Lakers win, Yankees win.

    Boston is CHOKE CITY

    • markcsii - May 19, 2012 at 1:41 AM

      because +17 FTs means it was a fairly called game…

      who lets this retard post on here still?

      • bozosforall - May 19, 2012 at 1:44 AM

        I don’t know who lets you and the rest of the Boston retards still post here. STHU crybaby Boston chump.

      • bleedgreen4life - May 19, 2012 at 2:54 AM

        Philly got the benefit of the doubt for taking in the rack. What kills them is they can’t hit their free throws. But believe me, there were bad calls on both sides. Like when pierce drove and lavoy allen stepped out of the way trying not to foul him, barely grazed him, and pierce got the call. It’s NBA refereeing. Nothing new.

      • wicky888 - May 19, 2012 at 6:41 AM

        The Lakers had 42 free throws, Kobe had 18 alone. Quit your crying. Inconsistent officiating is nothing new to any sport.

      • andyhr17 - May 19, 2012 at 1:14 PM

        Game was fairly called. Celtics shot jump shots all night and kept missing. Sixers took it to the basket and got the fouls. This is coming from a Celtics fan, too.

    • infectorman - May 20, 2012 at 9:30 AM

      FAkers CHOKE, your slurp0boy -toy-Binky KoME is done, A- Hole!!!

      Eat SH*T!

      • bozosforall - May 20, 2012 at 2:27 PM

        Nothing compared to the choking of the Red Sox, Pats, Briuns and Celtics all this year.

        GFY, AIDSinfectedman.

      • infectorman - May 20, 2012 at 4:27 PM

        Ba HAHAHAHAHA!!!!

        You are such a female!!!!!! — you’ll reply to every Sh*t talkin clown on the internet. !!!

        All great chokes for sure: but NO. ONE. will ever top your lame NYY losing 4 straight after being UP 3-0 in ALCS in 04′ to the Boston Red Sox.
        NYY Greatest CHOKE OF ALL TIME!!!!

        BAHAHAHABAHAHBAHBAHBAHBAHAHAHHAHAHHA!!!!!!!!

  2. markcsii - May 19, 2012 at 1:45 AM

    delicious butthurt bozos

    delectable even

    • bozosforall - May 19, 2012 at 2:09 AM

      Yeah, we know how you Boston guys like to munch butts. That eighth seed is whupping that a$$ good.

  3. drewzducks - May 19, 2012 at 2:17 AM

    Rather than gaining a choke hold on the series they choked this one away. No excuse for that. They’re gonna get what they deserve in this series one way or another

  4. blacc24 - May 19, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    Gotta put the loss on KG. Just 9 points and went 3-12 fg with 7 turnovers. Yea he had 11 Rebs and 3 blocks but they were mostly all in the 1 st half.

    If the sixers wanna win this series they gotta run the celtics out the gym.

  5. phillynac - May 19, 2012 at 5:31 AM

    Why do people point out free throw disparity as how fairly the game was called? Teams that take the ball to the basket should get more free throws. The C’s have 2 guys that go strong to the basket: Pierce and Rondo. And Rondo doesn’t go strong and look for contact. The C’s are a jump shooting team and will not get free throws the way other teams will.

  6. 700levelvet - May 19, 2012 at 5:37 AM

    Doug Collins for president!!!!….

  7. mungman69 - May 19, 2012 at 5:53 AM

    Neither team is consistent so either team can win this series. Boston keeps letting the Sixers hang around.

  8. lemfax - May 19, 2012 at 6:56 AM

    Don’t let it comes to the crucial game 7 or the younger legs will take it all…

  9. dirtmcgirt413 - May 19, 2012 at 7:04 AM

    Never thought I’d say it… I hate people who do…. But the game was handed to the sixers by the officials. It was a disgusting thing to watch and the league needs to reform these guys… The constant need for these jabronies to thumb print playoff games makes me ef’n sick.

  10. skizzy79 - May 19, 2012 at 7:49 AM

    The more aggressive team got the most foul shots. I’ve watched the Sixers all season long and they’ve never been this assertive on the offensive end when it comes to driving to the hole. I credit Evan Turner. This guy constantly took it to the heart of their defense even though he was getting his shot stuffed or missing. Eventually he began getting a few foul calls in the third quarter and the rest of the team began to pick their game up. This kid is a leader on the court. Cant wait till he puts it all together.

  11. therealtrenches - May 19, 2012 at 8:28 AM

    To all those Celts fans who scoffed at the mere suggestion that the Celts weren’t consistent enough to replicate their game 3 dominance on a regular basis: welcome back to reality, and quit whining about the refs. You’re so used to getting the calls that you think any evenly called game favors the opponent.

    • acdc363 - May 19, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      I’m a C’s fan. I’m actually kind of amazed that anyone could blame a loss where you start the game with a FOURTEEN TO NOTHING run on the officials. At the end of the game the better team always gets the win. We were most certainly not the better team last night. I didn’t get to see a whole lot of Iguodala in the regular season but holy crap I need that dude on my fantasy team next year. We don’t stand a chance when he’s hitting big shots down the stretch like he did last night.

  12. test2402 - May 19, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    Someone who uses the word “jabronies” should have their manhood questioned. Embarrassing.

  13. phillyphan83 - May 19, 2012 at 1:13 PM

    ACDC, don’t get too excited, Iggy only does that once every 7-8 games. He shows flashes and one was last night. He blew his load in game 4 and someone else is gonna have to win 2 more for the 6ers to advance.

  14. bozosforall - May 19, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    The Sixers made Boston look like the Puh C’s.

    • scalfor3 - May 20, 2012 at 2:18 PM

      even for you that was bad

      • bozosforall - May 20, 2012 at 5:45 PM

        Thought you werent gonna “feed the troll”? Just like the rest, you can’t resist. Another point for bozosforall.

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