The 76ers knew going down 0-2 in a series would be trouble, so they played one of the ugliest shooting, most physical games against the Celtics Monday night.
Winning this game would require a complete team effort from the 76ers and they stole home-court from the Boston Celtics, splitting the series 1-1.
The Sixers started this game down 9-0 early when they missed their first five shots.
They looked lost on offense as they rushed shots and lethargic on defense. Then Temple product, Lavoy Allen, came off the bench and entered the game seemingly energizing the Sixers with his all-round effort. He finished the game +20. During the first quarter Jrue Holiday hit two three pointers and kept the game close for the 76ers.
The first quarter ended with Boston leading 25-21.
The 76ers opened the second quarter scoring the first four points tying the game at 25. Lavoy Allen is really starting to look like a formidable matchup against Kevin Garnett. His defense made Garnett take tougher shots where in Game 1 he was almost shooting at will. The 76ers offense started to look reminiscent of their winning ways because they attacked the basket instead of taking ill-advised low percentage shots.
The Celtics and 76ers traded points with Jrue Holiday leading the team with 13 points and a perfect 3-for-3 from the line.
As the third quarter began, the 76ers had four straight turnovers and at the 9:49 mark they already had amassed 13 for the whole game. Both teams were shooting under 40 percent in the third quarter. This may been the worst quarter in the NBA Playoffs so far this year. Both teams had plenty of turnovers and enough "bricks" were taken to build a house.
The 76ers only managed five points within the first seven minutes, but Boston fared no better so the game stayed close. The key to the third quarter was a missed shot by Andre Iguodala that Lou Williams put back. After that, the 76ers went on an 11-0 run and finished the third quarter scoring 21 points to Boston’s 11.
Like every game the Celtics went on their fourth quarter run, but unlike the first game, the 76ers were able to keep Boston at arms-length.
Even though the 76ers didn't’t score for three minutes, their defense and effort kept them in the game. Even when the Celtics tied the game making key shots, the 76ers kept their poise and, with a couple of foul calls on the Celtics, were able to make their free throws and come out with an 82-81 win in Boston.
In splitting the first two games with Boston and heading back to Philadelphia, it would be wrong to say the 76ers are not in the driver’s seat.
Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen are keys to this series because they have such a physical presence when on the court. When not in foul trouble Allen is the best Sixers big man on the team versus Garnett. Evan Turner is able to get rebounds both offensively and defensively which is something the 76ers will need to keep improving on in the series.
The 76ers have opened up large leads on Boston but were unable to keep them as the game wound down.
The 76ers still need to make key adjustments in order to win this series. Boston is not going down without a fight, and after a one-point loss like this, Doug Collins will have to keep his team focused if they want to take a lead in this series.