Epic Tank Battle - Celtics Host Sixers

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

In what may be a tank battle of epic proportions, the Boston Celtics are hosting the Philadelphia 76ers for the 3rd of 4 meetings this season.

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Philadelphia 76ers (16-59) at Boston Celtics (23-52)
Friday, April 4, 2014
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #76, Home Game #39
TV: CSNNE, CSNP, NBA LP 755(DTV)/756(Xfinity)
Radio: WBZ, WPEN
TD Garden
Referees: Derrick Stafford, Mark Lindsay, Olandis Poole

Game Thread l Chat

In what may be a tank battle of epic proportions, the Boston Celtics are hosting the Philadelphia 76ers for the 3rd of 4 meetings this season. The series is tied 1-1 with each team winning on the other's court. They will meet one more time on April 14 in Philadelphia.

These two teams have combined to lose 39 of their last 41 games. Let that sink in for just a few minutes. The Celtics have won just one of their last 12 games and has lost 6 in a row. The Sixers have won just 1 of their last 28 games. The Sixers currently are the second worst team in the league, 2 games behind the Bucks. The Celtics are currently tied with the Utah Jazz for the 4th worst record, two games behind Orlando for the 3rd worst record.

Both teams are out of the playoffs and are vying for lottery position. The first time these two teams met at the Garden, Evan Turner hit a game winner at the buzzer to give the Sixers a one point win. Evan Turner has since been traded to the Pacers and the Sixers and so won't be a problem for the Celtics in this game.

Avery Bradley said that he hopes to play in this game after missing the last game with an Achilles injury but he is considered a game time decision. If he can't go, expect Jerryd Bayless to once again get the start in his place. Perhaps after one of the worst losses of the year, Brad Stevens may decide to shuffle the lineup a bit more, but my guess is that he will stick with the same starters.

Probable Starters

PG: Rajon Rondo .................................. SG: Avery Bradley

C: Kris Humphries

SF: Jeff Green ....................................... PF: Brandon Bass

Celtics Reserves
Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Phil Pressey
Chris Babb
Jared Sullinger
Kelly Olynyk
Jerryd Bayless

Injuries
Avery Bradley (Achilles) day to day
Keith Bogans (personal) out
Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Gerald Wallace (knee) out



Probable Starters

PG: James Anderson .................................... SG: Michael Carter-Williams

C: Henry Sims

SF: Thaddeus Young ...................................... PF: Hollis Thompson
Sixers Reserves
Tony Wroten
Elliot Williams
Jarvis Varnado
James Nunnally
Brendon Davies
Casper Ware
Jason Richardson

Injuries
Byron Mullins (ankle) out
Arnett Moultrie (suspension) out
Nerlens Noel (knee) out


vs
Avery Bradley vs Michael Carter-Williams

Carter-Williams is in the running for rookie of the year. He has been one of the bright spots for the Sixers this season, averaging 16.6 points, 6.1 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game. Carter-Williams will have family in the stands and so will be looking to have a big game.

vs
Jeff Green vs Thaddeus Young

Young is averaging 18 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. Green will need to keep Young from having a big game while trying to contribute for the Celtics on the offensive end.

Keys to the Game
Defense -
As always, defense is key to winning. The Celtics have been slipping on defense and allowing teams to score way too many easy baskets, especially in the paint. They allowed the Wizards to shoot 62.5% and that isn't going to win many games. They must make defense a priority.

Take Care of the Ball -
The Celtics tend to turn the ball over way too much. They need to keep their focus and make smart passes and avoid the costly turnovers that almost always lead to a score for the other team.

Rebound -
Rebounding is mostly effort and desire and when the Celtics put the effort on the glass it usually shows up in other areas also. They have to rebound on both ends to keep the Sixers from getting second chance points and to give themselves more chances to score.

Be Aggressive -
The Celtics need to stay aggressive. They have to be more aggressive going to the hoop and not settling for outside shots, especially if they aren't falling. They have to be aggressive on defense, in going after loose balls, and in going after rebounds. They have to be the team that wants it more. With the Sixers, that might not be all that hard.

Run -
The Celtics have to run on every possession. Too often they walk the ball up the court. When they run, they get easy shots before the defenses set up. They have to set the pace right from the beginning and keep it up through the final buzzer.

X-Factors
Pride and Ping Pong Balls
Will pride win over ping pong balls? That is the question.

X
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