Wednesday, April 6, 2011
Like old times with C's-Sixers
By Greg Payne
Michael Ivins/US PresswireThe Boston Celtics pulled away Tuesday, but their dog fights with the Philadelphia 76ers may foretell an entertaining playoff matchup:
Celtics guards Rajon Rondo and Delonte West have reason to celebrate.
--DAILY DIME: STRONG SECOND HALF SHOWS C'S STRENGTHS--
Just eight points had separated the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers in their first three bouts of the 2010-11 regular season. Entering Tuesday night's tilt, with the playoff picture slowly coming into focus, whispers swirled around what lined up as a potential preview for the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. Would the up-and-down Celtics, still struggling to put their new pieces together since the midseason trade of Kendrick Perkins, be ripe for an upset by the upstart Sixers in a seven-game series? A dominant second half out of the defending Eastern Conference champions quickly quieted any such speculation, as Philadelphia was held to 28.6 percent shooting and just 32 second-half points in a 99-82 Boston win at the TD Garden. "Tonight was a good test for us," Rajon Rondo said. "That might be a first-round opponent, and we did a good job of making a little statement, as far as them knowing it's going to be tough to beat us in a seven-game series."
--MAY: CELTICS-SIXERS COULD SPARK OLD FIRE--
It's an article of faith in the NBA that the playoffs are really, really, really different from the regular season. They are. You play the same team at least four games in a row. There is limited travel. There are no back-to-backs. Someone wins and moves on. But there are times when regular-season meetings between teams offer a true harbinger of what might transpire should those same two teams meet in the playoffs. All those Boston-Philly series in the 1980s? They mirrored the games of the regular season, which were always wars.