With a surprising performance from Spencer Hawes, the Sixers powered their way over the Celtics with big contributions from Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand to win the game 89-86.
Both Brand and Hawes sunk 14 points, and Iguodala dropped 13. But more importantly, the Sixers closed the game in the final seconds of the game with a circus-style layup from Andre Iguodala high off the backboard to seal the deal.
The Sixers closed a game. Andre Iguodala closed a game.
It was a close game the whole way. The biggest factors in the Sixers defeating the Celtics was limiting the production of Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. Allen was held to only five points, and though Rondo scored 12 with a jump-shot that just did not miss, the Sixers' outstanding defense stopped what Rondo does best—dish the ball and get assists.
Rondo was held to only five assists after coming into tonight's game averaging 12 assists a game. This was the key to beating Boston tonight. If you stop Rondo, you stop the heart of the Boston Celtics' offense.
There wasn't one Sixers' player you could point at and say, "that guy won the game for us." This was a true team effort from the Sixers, and it paid off.
So does this mean going forward that playing as a cohesive team will win the Sixers big games?
Boston clearly did not play their best game. Even though Doc Rivers gave them an extra day of rest, the Celtics still played as sluggishly as they did against the L.A. Clippers.
Whether the Celtics have just hit a down point in their season or are playing lethargic because they are the best team in the Eastern Conference and have already clinched a playoff berth, the Philadelphia 76ers took advantage of it.
The Sixers will head west for their next five games.
With match-ups coming against Milwaukee, Utah, the L.A. Clippers, Sacramento and Portland, this road trip will be a tiring one for sure. It wouldn't be surprising for the Sixers to drop a couple of games they should win, like losing to Blake Griffin and the Clippers.
It will be interesting to see how Philadelphia carries tonight's momentum during their remaining games, but I think they'll be able use tonight as a booster for the rest of their season, and hopefully into the postseason as a six or seven seed.
Where will the Philadelphia 76ers end up in the postseason?
Players Stepping Up
When Spencer Hawes is among your teams' leading scorers and you still win, then you know you played a tremendous game.
Jodie Meeks and Thadeus Young also stepped their games up tonight to make up for an off-night by Jrue Holiday and a not very productive Evan Turner, who did manage to grab four boards though.
It's not very often Spencer Hawes has a night like this.
Has been averaging just under seven points a game this season. Hawes also had 10 rebounds to cap off a double double tonight. He has been averaging five and a half rebounds this season.
This win was a great one for the Sixers, and they fought hard for it. Boston certainly didn't play their best, but Philadelphia showed what happens when you come unprepared for a game.
This is Boston's second big loss, following a loss against the Clippers. I'm sure Doc Rivers will have a few choice words for his team. The Celtics will be able to bounce back, no question about it, it's just a matter of when they will.
Both the Sixers and the Celtics have the same next opponent: the Milwaukee Bucks. First, the Sixers will travel out to Milwaukee, bringing with them a tremendous feeling of achievement and positive momentum. Then the Bucks will travel to Boston to face a tired and embarrassed Celtics team looking to prove why they are the best team in the Eastern Conference.
This is not a good time to be the Milwaukee Bucks.