By: Kevin Doherty and Jordan DeArmond
On Wednesday, May 23, the Celtics put on a woeful display of basketball skills. During game six of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals, the Celtics did not show why they deserve to win another championship. On a night where the Celtics couldn’t buy a basketball, played shotty defense at best, and lacked enthusiasm, there was no way they were going to be able to close out the series with the Philadelphia 76ers.
But the Celtics have more problems to face. With star player Ray Allen not 100 percent and shooting 4-11 from the field, and back-up Avery Bradley out with a dislocated shoulder, the Celtics are having a tough time generating offense outside of the paint.
While Brandon Bass was a huge factor in game five scoring 27 points, he struggled in game six going 2-12 from the field; scoring only eight points. Another player who normally has the ability to take over games, Rajon Rondo, did not show up for game six. He netted nine points and dished out a mere six assists which is eight off from his play-off average. Captain Paul Pierce was the only bright spot for the Celtics, scoring twenty-four points and grabbing ten rebounds, but his lone effort was not enough for the Celtics to get the victory.
Even after the Celtics shot a dismal 33.3 percent from the field, the 76ers were only able to beat them by seven points on their home court which shows that if the Celtics bring it in game seven they can blow this team out of the water. With the game scheduled for Saturday night, it gives the veteran legs of the Celtics an extra day of rest which they desperately need.
Since the seventh game is in Boston, it will provide the Celtics with a huge advantage. They will be able to feed off the energy radiating from their fans, which will be a pivotal point in them securing the victory. In a game where nerves will become an issue, the experience of the Celtics’ veteran core will allow them to keep their composure under tough situations while the 76ers will have to deal with the butterflies in their stomachs due to their inexperience.
If the Celtics are going to win game seven, they need to be able to rely on their starters to bring their A-game in order to hold off the 76ers for good. Garnett needs to bring his signature energy and intensity to the Garden in order to motivate his teammates for the game. Pierce has to show why he is the Captain by leading the Celtics to a victory with his stellar play. The Celtics’ floor general and point guard Rondo, needs to focus on penetrating Philadelphia’s defense in order to draw a double team which will free up a teammate for an open shot. And the bench needs to provide the extra spark of energy to keep the veterans going all game. If these key components fall into place, the Boston Celtics should be able to eliminate the Philadelphia 76ers in this highly anticipated game seven and move onto the next round.