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Match Review: Boston Celtics vs Philadelphia 76ers

For those who missed this match, it will be repeated on Sony SIX at 3 PM today. The Boston Celtics were looking for their 3rd straight win by defeating their division rivals, Philadelphia 76ers. A rematch of last year’s conference semifinals. With Andrew Bynum being out for this game, the pressure was on the Sixers’ emerging star guard, Jrue Holiday to step up.

Actually, both teams are feeling the pressure as they are 2-2 each. Holiday did his part, finishing with 21 points 14 assists and 4 rebounds. Holiday had been leading the Sixers with team-high averages in points (18.0 with 44% shooting from downtown) and assists (9.5). No surprise to see him step up. All the more impressive that he did it against Rajon Rondo. The one matchup to keep an eye on the most here was Rajon Rondo vs Jrue Holiday. Rajon Rondo finished with 14 points and 20 assists.  He tied John Stockton’s record of the 90-91 season for the third longest streak in NBA history.

The general perception of the Celtics under Doc Rivers is that of a hard nosed defensive team. But this season they are ranked 22nd in the league allowing 99.75 points per game on 45% shooting. The Sixers, on the other hand, are ranked 3rd allowing just 86.75 points on 42% shooting. Stark contrast, even though the sample size is just 4 games per team. And it bore out in the game as every time the Celtics tried to go on a run, they were stifled by the Sixers tough defense.

The Sixers finished the first quarter on a 15-4 run and led by three at the end of the first twelve. Evan Turner got the Sixers off to a hot start by scoring 14 points in the first half. He finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds, edging out his counterpart Paul Pierce who scored 24 points. The Sixers had a balanced scoring  attack as five of them finished with double figures in scoring.  Thaddeus Young and Dorrell Wright added 15 points apiece for the 76ers. The Celtics put together a strong run on the backs of Rajon Rondo in the second half, he had 8 points and six assists in the third quarter alone.And in the fourth he tossed an alley oop to Kevin Garnett with 2 minutes remaining to cut the lead down to 6 points.

Garnett showed that there is still a lot of life and hops in those aging legs of the Big Ticket. He finished with a double double of 19 points and 10 rebounds. Then they cut it down to four, Pierce scored on a drive to make it 102-98 with 27 seconds left but that was the closest they could close the deficit by the end. The Sixers held on to defeat the Celtics 106-100. The last time the Celtics led in this game was back when the score was 10-9.

As expected this was a tough, competitive contest between two of the best in the East. The scary thing is the Sixers are only going to get astronomically better once Andrew Bynum can suit up for them. The next live match on TV in India is Miami Heat vs Memphis Grizzlies on 12th November at 4:30 AM on Sony SIX. Again, those who missed today’s contest, tune in to Sony SIX at 3 PM today for the repeat telecast.

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