The Celtics had plenty of excuses to lose this game. They don't play well in back-to-backs, Shaq was sitting out with an injury, and Paul Pierce was sick. Not to mention the Celtics have a bad habit of playing down to their competition.
One person who does not play down to the competition is Doc Rivers. He refused to allow the Celtics to give up and willed his team to a thrilling victory over the resurgent Philadelphia 76ers. It's obvious that the 76ers are not a good team, but for what it's worth, they had won 5 straight home games and are starting to buy into Doug Collins' coaching. Well the current version of the Celtics Big Three has never lost to the 76ers in Philly and were content on keeping that streak in tact.
Ray Allen lead the way with 23 points on 7-10 shooting. Nine of those 23 came in the last five minutes of the game when it looked like the young Sixers had the advantage over the tired Celtics.
Not to be forgotten is Rajon Rondo who picked up the lack of scoring from Paul Pierce with 19 points and of course 14 assists.
The most spectacular of those assists went to Kevin Garnett to seal the win for the Celtics. With less than two seconds to play, KG was able to get open for a lob pass towards the rim and convert a layup. Needless to say, the 76ers had their heart broken but deserve credit for putting up a solid fight.
In the off-season, we heard Celtics players talking about not taking any nights off, stating that every single win is important. Well they certainly showed that tonight when it looked like the home town Sixers were going to win another one at home.
Credit to Semih Erden for playing well in the absence of Shaquille O'Neal, despite getting in foul trouble. Glen Davis (16 points, 7 rebounds) continued his consistent play off the bench and really kept the Celtics in reach while the starters rested. Nate Robinson provided the Celtics with the energy that they were clearly lacking even though he did not score a point after halftime.