More of this please.
As Steve Bulpett notes, some credit goes to the Sixers for playing good defense in the paint, but at some point the Celtics simply have to force the issue and get their hands dirty in there anyway.
The numbers bear repeating, people. The same team that scored 50 points in the paint and brutalized the 76ers with precision in Game 3 produced just 16 interior points in the Game 6 loss — just four of them in the second half. The Celtics took 23 shots in the lane and 55 from beyond that border. Garnett, who had been a revelation with his willingness to play inside in this postseason, didn’t take a single shot from the paint. He was fouled once while trying and hit both free throws.
As I mentioned earlier this morning, it has to start with Rajon Rondo. He has to attack the basket himself. He has to look to get the ball to KG on the block. He has to call the right plays and execute the right options within those plays without being careless with the ball.
But it goes on everyone's shoulders. Garnett has to fight for position. Bass has to stay aggressive (despite getting turned away with blocks on a couple of occasions in game 6). Pierce has to keep forcing the Sixers to put him on the line. The Celtics shooters can't hesitate on their jumpers, but they can't look for them on every trip down the court either.
I expect they will too. With a little rest and their backs against the wall, they have the Sixers right where they want them. They just have to get off to a good start and establish themselves as owners of the paint.