With the Chicago Bulls losing key players in Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose, and the Miami Heat now in a dead-heat battle with the Pacers without Chris Bosh, the Eastern Conference was sure to be Boston's for the taking. However, Atlantic Division rivals, the Philadelphia 76ers, have put up a fight in the Conference Semifinals that now sees the two teams even at three games a piece and both one win away from the Eastern Conference championship series.
In game four of this series the Celts had a lead of 18 at one point in the game and were poised to take complete control of the series. But their second half meltdown and the complete turnaround of the young, athletic and dynamic Sixers saw the series even up at two games each in the Wells Fargo Center.
In game six the Celtics had a chance to finally close the series out again in Philadelphia despite an incredibly ugly game by both teams and a shooting percentage of only 33 percent for the Celtics. The young and more athletic 76ers were able to rally in the fourth quarter to put the Celtics away and force the biggest game of Boston's season so far.
In order for the Celts to move on to the Conference Finals there is an endless list of elements of their game that need drastic improvement. However, there are three key facets of the game that will ultimately decide whether or not Beantown hosts a Conference Finals game this season.