Philadelphia 76ers, More Than Meets the Eye

The Boston Celtics can’t put on two great games in a row, no matter how much Rajon Rondo penetrates and dishes out; No matter how much respect Kevin Garnett gets for what he does just before his 36th birthday. The Sixers may not have the experience and swag these Celtics do, but they have enough basketball and toughness to win this series.

That was the big question before game 4. Can the Sixers turn things around after losing by 16 points at home? Yes. Because their defense can’t be that bad and soft for two straight games in this postseason, and because the Celtics, who came out very aggressively and strong out of the gates once gain, can’t be so dominating again for two straight games. They’re just not that good of a team.

There’s been too much talk about Garnett and Duncan finally facing each other in the NBA finals. People forgot all the obstacles in the way. People forgot that Garnett is somewhere in between his fantastic Game 3 performance and what he gave in Game 4 – Nine points and 11 rebounds, but also 7 turnovers and 3-12 shooting night. The Sixers just went small and strong, forcing the Celtics out of the paint.

You can’t keep Rondo out – finishing with 15 points and 15 assists, but he turned over the ball four times. The Celtics were forced to 17 turnovers, and the Sixers scored 27 fast break points. The Sixers just picked up the pace in the second half; The C’s didn’t respond. They led by 15 at half time, but ended up losing by 9. Their worst second half collapse in the playoffs for the franchise.

Even with Paul Pierce scoring 24, the Celtics don’t have a reliable way of creating points night in and night out. Rondo can score when drives inside but isn’t a dependable shooter from the outside. No one from the bench, including Ray Allen (5 points) could really help stop the turning tide, while Lou Williams, with 15 points, had a +28 during his 29 minutes.

Andre Iguodala didn’t take over, but he hit one huge three in the end of the game to put the Sixers well in front and secure the win. He scored 16 points, grabbed 7 boards and dished out 4 assists. Evan Turner was terrible with an awful 5-22 shooting night (That’s 22.7% boys and girls), but he had his big steal and moment in crunch time.

And that’s how the Sixers can win this one – Less Elton Brand and Spencer Hawes, more guards and athletic forward. They guard the perimeter better that way and can react better to when Rondo loses his defender. That might leave them exposed with Kevin Garnett inside, but he prefers those mid range jumpers anyway. The Celtics are the better team, with more weapons offensively, when everything’s clicking. When not, it’s all about who can create more plays and points off their defense. The Sixers have just about enough in that department to win this series.

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