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Sixers relive horror show with game film

By Jon Marks
Globe Correspondent / May 18, 2012
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PHILADELPHIA - Sixers coach Doug Collins took his team to the movies yesterday - for a horror show.

They winced watching Kevin Garnett continuously catch the ball deep in the post, putting him in perfect position for a jump shot. Their blood curdled at the sight of Rajon Rondo running a one-man fast break, taking turns deciding which teammate to set up for an easy hoop.

And they squirmed in their seats looking at all the bad shots they took in Game 3, the poor decisions they made, the transition buckets they allowed as the Celtics systematically pounded them into the ground, 107-91, to grab a 2-1 series lead.

Yes, those grisly images were worth a thousand words.

“It’s a little embarrassing,’’ said point guard Jrue Holiday. “Because you don’t want to put on a show like that.

“You definitely don’t want to do it at home. But at the same time, it is motivation not to do it again.’’

For starters, Collins said, it would help if their heads were into the game.

“For whatever reason, we didn’t have a lot of energy,’’ said Collins, who felt his team was “seduced’’ by the way it took a 33-28 first-quarter lead while playing little defense. “At the start of the game, we didn’t have that bounce.

“Even when we were up, 33-28, they had missed about six layups, so we never had a grip on the game defensively. And we went cold in the game offensively, which is normally when your defense has to carry you through, and we didn’t have it.

“I never take away from a team playing well offensively, but I didn’t think we put up a lot of resistance.’’

Will it be any different Friday night, with the Sixers’ season essentially on the line? It would help if they did a better job keeping Garnett out of the post and didn’t allow Rondo so much room to operate. But just as vital, Philadelphia has to come out with more of a purpose than it showed in Game 3.

“You have to force your will, no matter what the other team does,’’ said Andre Iguodala, who had a tough time keeping Paul Pierce (24 points) in check, while managing just 10 points himself. “Play to your strength.

“I think we got caught up in scoring the ball in the first quarter. We have to realize even when we are scoring, our defense is still the thing that’s going to get us over the hump.’’

That was the universal theme coming out of this trip to the movies.

“Our defense has to be there, even if our offense isn’t,’’ said Holiday, who probably has been Philadelphia’s most effective player in the series, averaging 13.7 points and 5.3 assists. “If we do that, we can be in the game.

“Having our defense set from the beginning gives us a chance.’’

Clearly, that was not the case in Game 3, which proved costly. After watching it again for more than an hour yesterday - not to mention hearing about it everywhere they turned - the Sixers have only one alternative.

“If we win that game tomorrow, it’s 2-2,’’ said Collins. “So our guys should be incredibly excited.

“You can’t put a price on what we’re learning.’’

Especially if it means that, the next time he takes his team to the movies, everybody enjoys the show.

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