at Boston Celtics (6-3,2-1) at Philadelphia 76ers (5-4, 1-2)
Eastern Conference Semi-Finals Game 4
Friday, May 18, 2012
8:00 PM ET
Playoff Game #10, Road Game #5
TV: ESPN, TSN
Radio: WEEI, 97.5 The Fanatic
TD GardenProbable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Jrue Holiday Shooting Guard
Avery Bradley vs Evan Turner Small Forward
Paul Pierce vs Andre Iguodala Power Forward
Brandon Bass vs Elton BrandCenter
Kevin Garnett vs Spencer Hawes Celtics Reserves
Mickael Pietrus Injured
Paul Pierce (knee) probable
Mickael Pietrus (hamstring) probable
Avery Bradley (shoulder) probable
Ray Allen (ankle) day to day
Greg Stiemsma (feet) probable Key off the Bench
Mickael Pietrus is finally finding his shot and has hit big shots in the last two games. He was 3-4 from beyond the arc in game 3. He is also going to the hoop and rebounding. The Celtics need more of that from him. He is also adding some tough defense.
Ray Allen's contributions in game 3 didn't stand out in the box score but his presence on the court is a big reason the Celtics offense works. Even when he doesn't take a shot he spreads the floor and they have to keep a body on him.
Ryan Hollins brings energy when he comes into the game. The Celtics need him to play good defense and to play without making a lot of mistakes. It would be great if he could grab a few rebounds while he is in there also. Sixers Reserves
Craig Brackens Injuries
None Key Off the Bench
Lavoy Allen has played good defense on KG and has also hit some big shots for them. For a rookie, he's been playing solid minutes off the bench.
Lou Williams is capable of putting up a lot of points. He is also capable of shooting them out of the game with ill advised contested shots. The Sixers are hoping for the former while the Celtics would be pleased with the latter.
Thad Young gave the Sixers a big boost off the bench in game 3, scoring 22 points on 10-16 shooting. The Sixers need more of that from him if they want to win this game. Keys to the Game Defense
- As always, defense is key to getting the win. The Celtics must play tough in your face defense from start to finish. They won game 3 by taking their defense to another level. They need to come out playing that same lock down team defense in this game. The defense feeds off the offense and so everything starts with Celtics defense. Rebound
- The Celtics were out-rebounded 47-36 in game 2. They came back and out-rebounded the Sixers 44-37 in game 3. When they crash the boards good things happen. Paul Pierce was aggressive on the boards in game 3 and will hopefully do so again. KG has also been very aggressive in going after rebound. Rebounding is effort and desire. How else can you explain a 6'1" guard out rebounding all the bigs on the court? Every Celtic must have that desire and they have to put out the effort to win the battle of the boards. No rebounds - no win. Run the Offense
- The Celtics had been in a big offensive drought in games 1 and 2. In game 3 they finally started moving the ball and finding the open man and hitting their shots. They shot 52% from the field and played great team ball instead of trying to do too much. Rondo was aggressive in running the offense and got everyone involved. The Celtics need aggressive Rondo again in this game. Effort and Focus
- In the first two games it seemed as though the Celtics didn't get serious about playing until the final stretch. They made sloppy passes. Shot terribly. Didn't fight for rebounds and just generally looked sloppy. They finally played like they wanted to win in game 3 and what a difference. The Celtics need to come out focused and give maximum effort in this game and go back to Boston up 3-1. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics have to be more aggressive in going after rebounds, going after loose balls, and driving to the basket, especially if their shots aren't falling. Even if the shots are falling, going to the basket will draw fouls and get them into the bonus. They also have continue the aggressive defense they played in game 3.
Take Care of the Ball
- The Sixers are very good at scoring off turnovers. The Celtics had 13 turnovers in game 1 and 17 in game 2 and the Sixers made them pay for them. In game 3, the Celtics committed only 7 turnovers. They were much more focused on making smart passes and taking care of the ball. They need to continue to take care of the ball and avoid costly turnovers in this game. Game Notes
The Celtics finally played like they wanted to win in game 3. Doc said that it started with a very focused Rondo in the shoot around. We have seen so many times that as Rondo goes, so go the Celtics. And Rondo was aggressive from the start and the team followed his lead.
Rondo has said that he is ready to bring it in game 4 as well and hopefully he follows through. Kevin Garnett has found the a time machine because he is playing better than he has since 2008. Paul Pierce has struggled with a knee injury but showed little effects from it in game 3. The Celtics will need an aggressive Paul Pierce again to get another win on the road.
Ray Allen, Avery Bradley, Mickael Pietrus and Greg Stiemsma are also playing through injuries for the Celtics. Ray took just 1 shot in game 3 but he pulled down 4 rebounds and was very active and helped to spread the floor. Avery is struggling with his shoulder and it's affecting his shot, but he still plays that bull dog defense that the Celtics need. Mickael Pietrus has finally found his shot and was 3-4 from beyond the arc in game 3. He has also been playing great defense in spite of the sore hamstring. Stiemsma has lost much of his playing time to Hollins but he still is capable of coming in and changing shots and grabbing rebounds.
Teams that are up 2-1 win the series 82% of the time. The Celtics can't get complacent though. They need to come out and play game 4 with the same intensity that they played game 3 and get the series over with quickly and then let their injuries heal before the next series. X-Factors
Effort, Injuries and Officiating
The Celtics finally started playing with some effort in game 3. They need to come out with the same effort and intensity if they want to get a win in this game and go back to Boston up 3-1.
The Celtics need to have an aggressive Paul Pierce again in this game. Will his knee injury flare up after his play in game 3 or will he once again have another big game?
As we have seen way too many times, the officials can have an effect on a game. The Celtics are on the road and can't expect to get calls. They need to keep their focus and play through the calls. Hopefully it will be a fairly called game.