76ers go inside to force Game 7

May, 23, 2012
5/23/12
11:28
PM ET
By ESPN Stats & Information
ESPN.com
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David Dow/NBAE/Getty ImagesJrue Holliday scored 20 points to lead the 76ers over the Celtics, forcing a Game 7.
The Philadelphia 76ers staved off elimination with a 82-75 win over the Boston Celtics, sending the Eastern Conference Semifinals to a decisive Game 7 in Boston on Saturday.

This will be the seventh Game 7 between the 76ers and Celtics, and the first in three decades. Boston has won four of the previous six meetings, but the 76ers won the last such game exactly 30 years ago today.

Philadelphia continued its improbable run through the playoffs as the No. 8 seed with its seventh win in 12 games this postseason.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the 76ers seven wins are tied for the second-most in a single postseason by an eight-seed since 1983-84 (the 16-team playoff format began in 1983-84).

The win tonight was hardly a surprise for fans in Philadelphia or Boston. The 76ers improved to 5-0 this postseason following a loss and 5-1 in home playoff games.

With the loss, the Celtics drop to 10-13 overall and 2-11 on the road in close-out games since Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen joined Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo on the team in the 2007-08 season.

Keys to the Game
The 76ers dominated the Celtics around the basket, shooting 63 percent from inside five feet, their best rate so far in the Eastern Conference Semifinals. They also held the Celtics to under 40 percent shooting from inside five feet for the first time since Game 2 of the 2009-2010 NBA Finals against the Lakers.

Contributing to the Celtics woes on the interior was Kevin Garnett's reluctance to go inside. All 20 of Garnett’s field goal attempts in Game 6 were from 10 feet and out, with an average distance of 17 feet.

The 20 attempts from 10-plus feet are four more than Garnett’s previous high with the Celtics. Garnett had 126 games with the Celtics prior to Wednesday with 15 or more field goal attempts. In all of those games, Garnett had at least one shot inside of 10 feet.

Looking Ahead to Game 7
Despite the 76ers win on Wednesday night, they still face long odds to win the series:

• In NBA playoff history, teams that have won Game 5 of a best-of-seven series that was tied at 2-2 (like the Celtics did) have gone on to win the series 83 percent of the time.

• The Celtics were the 47th team to win Game 5 of a best-of-seven series that was tied 2-2 by 15-or-more points. Of the previous 46 teams to do that, 44 went on to win the series, according to Elias.

• And Elias also tells us that the 76ers have lost each of the last 13 best-of-seven series they have played in which they have trailed 3-2, which is the longest such streak in NBA history.

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