The Celtics are a veteran team, the Sixers are a youthful team. Typically in the NBA Playoffs, all other things being equal, the savvy veterans win out. The Celtics are hurting and tired but at some point, they have to make some of the effort plays that they didn't in Game 4.
The Celtics seem to have accepted their difficult assignment after a couple of days of reflection. This is hardly the first time the Big Three have been asked to respond after a demoralizing loss. "It’s mental. Like I said, doing the little things,’’ said Paul Pierce. "Not turning the ball over. Rebounding the ball. We gave them too many second opportunities, getting to loose balls. It’s going to be the little things that really add up to big things. Those little things can add up to a win if we can do that.’’
They had better do those little things because if they don't, the young pups from Philly just might. Their depth is huge and it might just be wearing the Celtics down.
"Activity, activity,’’ Collins said. That’s what the pair of bench players provided. And though they scored a combined 20 points, it was their defense, their 19 combined rebounds and their work in the paint that made the biggest difference. "Any time Thad is cutting and rolling and getting next to that basket, he puts so much pressure on the defense,’’ Collins said. "I thought he and Lavoy had some great interior passes the other night, big plays, keeping the ball alive.’’
This is where experience has to win out over youth and energy. The Celtics have to make the right plays and put the Sixers in a position where all the activity in the world isn't going to help them. But it starts with making the effort to make those right plays. Tired or not, they have to step up in order to advance.