At the half all I heard was "Its a heck of a game" and "If this is going to be a playoff matchup, it'll be entertaining". By the end of the fourth quarter I was hearing about how 4 bench players managed 18 minutes or more tonight, and how great Jeff Green played.
The first two frames were defined by mostly even, if frantic play from both sides. The lead never got bigger than the 4 point advantage Boston held at the half, and neither team looked like they held a clear advantage heading into the second half.
But what a half it was.
While the Celtics as an offensive unit played very well in the second (they shot a little worse, but they played more evenly, I felt), the Celtics defense just became suffocating, holding the 76ers to a 28.6% shooting display in the second half. In the last two frames the Celtics out-defended, out-shot, out-rebounded, and out-hustled Philadelphia. If you wanted a statement game tonight...well I suppose this was pretty darn close.
Rondo led all Celtics in awesomeness tonight with a very aggressive display on offense, ending up with 16 points, 13 assists, and 4 boards. Jeff Green, Paul Pierce, Nenad Krstic and Kevin Garnett also all had excellent games.
The one worrying number I took away from tonight's game (which Gorman would not stop talking about) was Ray Allen's 35 minutes and only 5 field goal attempts. At one point I watched Ray Allen come off of 2 or 3 screens and actually end up in a double-team he was lucky to get out of without a turnover. I don't know what to make of that.
Best visual of the night: Andre Iguoadala throws the ball away with 2:44 left in the second quarter. Camera pans to Doug Collins, who can be seen just ripping apart his game notes and cursing for a solid 20-30 seconds. Not at anybody mind you...just cursing. Loved it.