The visit to the city of brotherly love should not have been difficult to get up for, as a victory would have slid Boston into first place in the Atlantic as well as catapult them three spots to the four seed in the playoff race. However, the men in green seemed a bit nonchalant in their intensity at the outset. The 76ers flew up and down the court a few times, getting out to a 33-17 first quarter lead and this one may as well have been toe-tagged there.
The only quarter the Celtics breached 20 points was the third, and the deficit ranged from 19 to the mid 30s throughout.
Boston highlights were few and far between. Paul Pierce was the only regular Celtic who could be remotely proud of how he played. The Captain battled through a rough outside shooting night and managed 16 points in three quarters. The only other positive to take from the Philly trip was that the gassed starters were able to get a full quarter of rest after grinding out back-to-back overtime wins.
There were negatives outside of the obvious; embarrassing final score and slipping to two games behind Philadelphia for the division lead. Poor trends continued as the Celtics were once again out-rebounded 54-35. The defense was also subpar in the first quarter yet again. Boston has allowed 29, 28, and 33 points in each of the past three opening quarters, respectively. The difference was that this time, the Celtics couldn't turn things around.
Brandon Bass was the only other Celtic regular in double figures with 12 points. Jajuan Johnson played the entire final quarter and put in 10 points in 12 minutes. Boston shot only 35% from the field, front rimming shot after shot. Boston was also held without a three-point field goal.
Six 76ers reached double figures, led by Evan Turner's 26 points and 9 rebounds. Elton Brand was 8-10 for 18 points and 9 boards. Reserve Nikola Vucevic posted a double-double off the bench with 14 and 12.
Mickael Pietrus went to locker room late in the third but returned to bench, though not the game.
The Celtics fell to 20-18 on the season and return home Friday to take on the Portland Trailblazers. After that game Boston takes off on their much dreaded eight game road trip which will finish right back here in Philadelphia on March 23rd. Walsh 3/07/2012 09:34:00 PM Tweet