Boston Vs. Philly
Last Game: 83-75 (Philly)
In what has to be one of the most up-and-down playoff series in recent years, the 76ers defeated Boston 83-75 to force a decisive Game 7.
Watching this series has caused me to question my sanity. I cannot, for the life of me, decide whether Boston is simply depleted or if Philly really is that good. In any case, I’m starting to harbor doubts of whether the Celtics have the guns to take down LBJ and Miami.
That’s not to discount the 76ers. I give them plenty of credit for pushing this series as far as they have, but at the same time the Celtics are old. They’re not strong enough to wipe out a team in four games, or at least that’s what I’ve come to realize while watching this series. At times KG, Pierce, Rondo, and Allen look like their 2008 counterparts scoring at will and defending with earnest gusto. Then they’ll show up and look like the cast of Ron Howard’s Cocoon – slow, old, weak. Incapable of producing anything on the offensive end; and always a step behind Doug Collins’ faster, more athletic squad.
Even so, I still say Boston wins Game 7 on Friday. I don’t see the 76ers marching into the Garden and pulling off such a feat … then again, I never expected them to push the series this far either. Boston will likely take comfort in knowing this is the last game of the series, for better or worse. They’ll come to play and will make the big shots down the stretch (this isn’t wishful thinking, mind you – I truly want the 76ers to win the series), but even if they do take Game 7 do they have what it takes to stop the Heat?
Look, I thought LBJ and co. were done after Bosh went down. They’ll lose Game 6 without Haslem, but I see a similar situation as Boston/Philly in that Indiana must then take on the Heat in Miami … no small task. So assuming I’m right and Miami meets up with Boston, what then?
Both teams are an absolute enigma. Miami has two superstars who more or less play the same position. In Games 1, 3, and 4 LBJ and Wade looked awesome; invincible even. Every time the Pacers made a run, Wade would simply draw a foul and a bucket for a traditional 3-point play; or LeBron would jack up a long trey or steamroll his way to the hoop. In the other two games, Indiana matched them pound for pound and made Miami’s offense look stagnant, if not pathetic. Obviously Spoelstra and co. figured out how to shut down the Pacers’ potent attack, but will they have such a luxury against the more veteran-savy Celtics?
Perhaps, but only because Doc Rivers’ squad play as though they just came from a retirement community.
And in the end, does it really matter? Especially since OKC and (most especially) San Antonio clearly have all the makings of a true champion … Probably not. By the time Miami or Boston makes the big trip to the NBA Finals they’ll be worn down and depleted after yet another grueling 7-game series.