NBA Playoffs: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics Series Preview

Last Updated: May 12th, 2012 by Adam Markowitz (Bankroll Sports Columnist)
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The Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers went back and forth with each other all year long in the Atlantic Division. Now, the two have to meet in the playoffs, and we are set to make our NBA picks for the postseason, including our Boston vs. Philadelphia series predictions!

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Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics NBA Playoff Schedule
Game 1: Philadelphia @ Boston (Saturday 5/12, 8:00 PM, TNT)
Game 2: Philadelphia @ Boston (Monday 5/14, 7:00 PM, TNT)
Game 3: Boston @ Philadelphia (Wednesday 5/16, 7:00 PM, TNT)
Game 4: Boston @ Philadelphia (TBD)
Game 5: Philadelphia @ Boston (TBD, If Necessary)
Game 6: Boston @ Philadelphia (TBD, If Necessary)
Game 7: Philadelphia @ Boston (TBD, If Necessary)

Key #1: The 76ers have to keep their emotions in check
All too often what we see in the playoffs with teams that just pulled off big wins is that they fall into the tank and get eliminated very quickly after that. In the case of the 76ers, they were truly emotional in their victory over the Chicago Bulls in the first round, and the celebration really looked more like an NBA Finals type of celebration than a simply first round series triumph. Though there is plenty of NBA experience on this team, there aren’t many that have ever been this far in the playoffs before, and we are just afraid that what we saw out of the Memphis Grizzlies last year when they were finally taken out of the second round of the playoffs by the Oklahoma City Thunder could happen again if the Sixers just don’t have the oomph to keep the foot on the gas pedal throughout this whole series.

Philadelphia 76ers vs. Boston Celtics Series Odds at
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Philadelphia 76ers +175
Boston Celtics -210
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Key #2: More than six players will have to be big for the Celtics
Six players. Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Brandon Bass, and Avery Bradley. That’s all that played in more than 17 minutes per game for the Celtics in the first round of the playoffs, and those are the only players that averaged more than 3.5 points per game as well. Pierce was the catalyst of the bunch, coming up with 21.2 points per game, while KG and Rondo weren’t all that far behind at 18.7 and 16.8 points per game respectively. That being said, there is still a heck of a lot that others can do. Mickael Pietrus was awful in that opening series against the Hawks, and Marquis Daniels was really nowhere to be found either. These are players that play crucial minutes for Boston. It’s not that they are going to have to be double digit point scorers every time out there. However, it would be quite nice if in the end, the Celtics didn’t have to rely on just those main four scorers and two others to account for the mass majority of what they are doing offensively.

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Key #3: Defense will be the ultimate key
The Celtics ranked No. 2 in the league in terms of points per game in the regular season at 89.3, and teams only shot 41.9 percent against them, best in the NBA. Philly was third in both categories at 89.4 points per game and 42.7 shooting percentage against. In the playoffs, that has been magnified even more. Boston kept the Hawks down to just 87 points or fewer in all six games of that series, something that isn’t often done. Granted, we know that the Sixers had some help in the form of injuries to Derrick Rose and then Joakim Noah as the series wore on, but regardless of those facts, holding the mighty Bulls, who still had one of the best offenses in the league this season even with Rose missing half the year, down to 82 points or fewer in four straight games to close out that series was quite impressive. Whichever team can impose its defensive will on the other is likely to be the one that ends up advancing in this series.

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Posted in NBA Basketball - Last Updated on Saturday, May 12th, 2012 @ 12:46 am (EST)
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