Celtics to take on 76ers in Round Two of NBA Playoffs

Celtics to take on 76ers in Round Two of NBA Playoffs

tylercreighton

After a close but well earned 83-80 Game 6 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, the Boston Celtics are advancing to the Eastern Conference Semi Finals.  And, as a result of one of the more surprising turn of events in this year’s playoffs, they will be facing not the 1 seed Chicago Bulls, but the 8 seed Philadelphia 76ers instead.  Both Boston and Philly managed to close out their Round One series’ in six games and so both will receive the same amount of rest going into the start of Round Two, which begins on Saturday.  The Celtics are 1-2 this season against the Sixers; two blowout losses and one blowout win towards the end of the season.  This statistic isn’t telling of much, other than that this series is a toss up and is certain to be entertaining.

The best part of Boston’s recent success is that everyone has made their contributions.  The “Big Ticket” has returned as Garnett is hitting big time shots and playing defense reminiscent of his Defensive Player of the Year days.  Pierce’s clutch plays have yet to falter.  Rondo is always making miraculous passes and often taking it to the rim himself, embarrassing some helpless defender.  Avery Bradley supplies the youth and athleticism that they’ve in desperate need of.  And Ray, of course, is still hitting threes when they’re needed most.  Even the role players like Brandon Bass and Greg Stiemsma are hitting mid range jumpers or coming up with big blocks at crucial times.  Boston fans have every reason to be optimistic as the Celtics are looking pretty good in what is probably the Big 3’s last playoff run together.

But it isn’t time to start getting ready for the  Conference Finals just yet.  Philadelphia has also been looking a little intimidating lately.  Despite their quiet and disappointing sub .500 end to the season, no team that knocks out the 1 seed should be overlooked.  Young players like 21 year old guard Jrue Holiday and 23 year old forward Thadeus Young (who led Philly with 21 points in their Game 6 against the Bulls) provide energy and athleticism.  Meanwhile, the older players like 28 year old forward Andre Iguodala and 33 year old forward Elton Brand provide leadership and experience.  They make for an interesting – and at times a little threatening – Round Two match-up.  But if the teams play like they each did at the end of their seasons, the Celtics are sure to be the one to advance.