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Boston vs. Philadelphia Game 7: First team to 80 wins?

May 26, 2012, 10:55 AM EDT

Boston Celtics guard Rondo drives to the basket past Philadelphia 76ers guard Turner during the first quarter of Game 5 of their NBA Eastern Conference playoff series in Boston Reuters

Game 7.

It’s usually when even veterans get tight, playing like they are afraid to make a mistake. It means in Game 7 the offensive numbers plummet — but I don’t know that they can much more in Boston vs. Philadelphia.

This has been a series about which team could find enough offense against a good defense to pull out a win. Game 7 Saturday night will be no different. Philadelphia beat Boston in Game 6 with 82 points, and the first team to 80 likely wins this game.

There are no secrets left, no magical adjustments to make, this is just about execution. We all know what both sides are going to do.

For Boston, they have to get their points inside close to the basket. Boston’s jumpers are not falling consistently, so points in the paint matter. That will mean trying to establish Kevin Garnett on the block — and this is where the extra day off between games really helps Boston. KG should be fresher, he should get down the floor fast and establish deep, early position that the Sixers have not been able to stop this series. Philly will need to have a good game (without foul trouble) from Lavoy Allen to try and counter it.

But those points inside also need to come from Rajon Rondo penetration. He can get inside, but the key is for him to finish — he has shot 63 percent in the paint in Boston’s wins in this series, 46 percent in the losses (that stat via the wise John Schuhmann at NBA.com). Watch how well he is closing out his attacks.

For Philly, they are going to have Jrue Holiday attack the paint like he did in Game 6. And if Ray Allen and his bad ankle are covering Evan Turner, you will see Philly attack with Turner (and likely a lot of Lou Williams off the bench). Boston’s defense really misses Avery Bradley’s pressure and turnovers on the perimeter and in their Game 6 win Philly exploited that with some success. They will go back to that well.

Philly also needs some points in transition — get Andre Iguodala out finishing in transition. They have the better athletes — hello Thaddeus Young — but they have been largely bottled up by Boston’s defense this series. If Philly can get some easy buckets in transition or on offensive rebounds it will be difficult for Boston to match.

You think that at home with veterans like Paul Pierce who have been on bigger stages than this the Celtics will step up. This is the kind of game the Celtics historically win.

But it really just comes down to who gets their points in the paint. And probably the first one to 80.

  1. pxeeks - May 26, 2012 at 11:45 AM

    Sixers upset win in Boston game 7. You heard it her!! #Sixers

    • skizzy79 - May 26, 2012 at 12:05 PM

      e

  2. jblah - May 26, 2012 at 12:10 PM

    i’m not as optimistic as you are about game 7 but i’m still proud of how far the sixers have come this season!

  3. bostroff - May 26, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Yeah Sixers! Go Sixers!

  4. test2402 - May 26, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    10, 9, 8, 76.

  5. bleedgreen4life - May 26, 2012 at 2:33 PM

    Lets go SIXERS! Trap rondo and attack the paint.

  6. 91devinhester23 - May 26, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    celtics better win and atleast annoy the heat on their free d rose less trip to the finals

  7. infectorman - May 26, 2012 at 3:30 PM

    Celtics by 8-10 pts.

    Sixers don’t have it in them to win a game 7 on the road

  8. ss3walkman - May 26, 2012 at 4:32 PM

    Love both teams but with the much needed rest that Boston has received since the last game you gotta figure they’ll bring the noise tonight.

    Boston is going to rely on a good game from Rondo and KG but I’m more worried about Bass, Mike P., and.. Jesus Shuttlesworth. I think they’re the true x-factors in this game. With the rest given IF Allen gets hot it changes things. Allen getting hot opens it up for Pierce too seeing they may switch Iggy on him at some point. Bass has another good game and it may be the end to a very successful season for Philly.

    Here’s to a good game, cheers!!

  9. mungman69 - May 26, 2012 at 5:14 PM

    There is an old saying, “That’s why they play the game.” Boston has not shown much in this series and if they don’t play better, well you never know. Boston 92-86.

  10. davidly - May 27, 2012 at 12:03 AM

    You were right, Kurt. If only they had called it at 80, ’cause that’s precisely where the game was all over (except for the commercials).

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