Historically the Celtics have had a tough time closing out opponents in series clinching games – that certainly rang true last night in Philadelphia. Philly defeated the Celtics 82-75 to force a game 7, with the winner likely moving towards a date with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Game 6 was won as the Sixers need to win – by using their quickness, getting to the hoop, and playing tough defense. For the Celtics a measly 75 points isn’t going to cut it, no matter the opponent. It’s been said with increasing frequency that as Rajon Rondo goes, the Celtics go. Rondo had a poor game last night, with only 9 points, 6 assists, and 9 rebounds. That just isn’t going to cut it.
As for Philly, they kept their attack balance and generally executed their game plan. I still couldn’t help but saying “Wow, these teams suck” as I watched the game. You have one team with three of the best players in NBA history who can’t put up more than 75 points, and another team that simply has no remarkable players. Regardless of who wins, I stick by my previous assertion that either team will get toasted as they move on, if not by the Heat then by the Spurs or Thunder. This is not a league where mediocre talent wins championships, even when playing as a team.
Game 7 should be fun. It’s here in Boston, and the Garden will be rocking. Philadelphia fans will guzzle their Yuengling’s and curse at their TVs in their McNabb jerseys. I’m guessing that the Celtics will win – they have a series of legendary closers who I believe will take care of business in the 4th quarter of game 7. Philly simply can’t match that experience. That said, I’ll put the Celtics odds at only 66% – why? Because Ray Allen has historically been a key piece, if not the key piece of the Celtics closing out so many games since the big three came together. Ray has been non-existent in this series, as the bone spurs in his foot are clearly throwing him way off.
Who has the better chance of beating the Heat, the Celtics or the Sixers?