Saturday, May 26, 2012

Sixers @ Celtics Game 7 Preview 2/2

John from Red's Army was awesome enough to answer some questions about the Boston Celtics chances on beating the Sixers in tonight's Game 7.  Check out his site  Red's Army.  He does an excellent job, one of the better Celtics sites around. 

How much injuries have affected  this team, especially against the Sixers?  I feel this series should have been over in 5 assuming everyone was healthy, do you agree with this assessment?

That's what I picked to start the series, and it easily could have gone that way.  Some of it was injuries, some of it is Philly's defense, and some of it is a simple lack of execution by the Celtics.  You can point to a lot of different things and say "if this was different, this series should be over".  It's a combination of stuff, but health is probably the biggest factor of them all.

It must be frustrating to lose one of the few rising young players you had in Avery Bradley, how has the series changed since he went out?

If I had to choose ONE thing that changed this series the most, it's losing Bradley.  Bradley's on-ball defense caused such huge problems.  And with him on the ball, you could let Rondo roam a little bit and pick off passes to start breaks.  Bradley's defense was actually a huge catalyst for the Celtics offense, and one of the reasons why the Celtics could score whatever easy points they did.  Without Bradley, the Celtics are now starting Ray Allen, who was already a step slower as a defender than he was a few years ago.  Now that Ray's playing on a bad ankle, he's a liability defensively.  It really hurts the team.

I can’t imagine the Sixers actually ending the big three era, do you feel nervous knowing there’s a chance you won’t get to see the big 3 play together again?

Absolutely.  There's no guarantee that Ray Allen will be back and we don't know how much time Kevin Garnett has left.  And to be quite honest, the "Big 3" era is over regardless of whether they come back.  Ray's not the starter anymore and KG's minutes have to be limited for him to be effective during the regular season.  So the Big 3 era is over anyway.  This is now Rondo's team, no matter how the team is constructed next year.

Which Rondo will show up?

We'll see triple-double Rondo tonight.  The Celtics almost always have big bounce-back games at home after a playoff road loss, and Rondo will be the reason why.  I'm not sure that he actually will get the triple-double.. but he'll have that kind of game.

Which is the one player from Philly you absolutely have to stop to have a better chance of winning game 7?

Pick a guard, any guard.   Jrue Holiday or Evan Turner, whichever one of those guys decides to be the penetrator,  Elton Brand has killed the Celtics for stretches, but any big that does hurt Boston often does it off a guard's dribble penetration.  If the Celtics force more outside shots, then they should be ok. 

Rondo and KG are the keys to getting a W tomorrow, what’d you think?  Any other keys to success?

If the Celtics win the points in the paint, they'll win the game.  However that happens, it has to happen.  That could mean Rondo layups, KG in the post, Paul Pierce slashing, Bass finishing inside... however they do it, they just need to do it.  That also means, as I just said, stopping Philly from getting penetration, and also limiting turnovers that lead to fastbreak points.  Points in the paint is where this game will be won.

Final prediction?

I like the Celtics to finish this off at home and I like them to do it easily.  I just don't see Philadelphia, with all their youth, being able to focus in the Boston Garden in a Game 7.  Meanwhile, I think the C's feed off that.  They have a history of looking really good at home after looking really bad on the road, so I just think this all comes together tonight in a big way for the Celtics.

Check John on Twitter @RedsArmy_John and Follow me as well @JohnnyNBA  and Like us on Facebook.

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