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76ers notebook

Tough opponent was up to ‘old’ tricks

By Jon Marks
Globe Correspondent / May 18, 2012
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PHILADELPHIA - Even though they’re no longer playing, the Atlanta Hawks have taught the Sixers one important lesson: Don’t call Kevin Garnett and the Celtics old.

“First of all, I don’t consider them old,’’ said Philadelphia coach Doug Collins, whose young club will try to erase the memories of Wednesday’s 107-91 whipping and even the series in Game 4 Friday night. “I don’t know who came up with that.

“They sure looked pretty young to me. Garnett’s playing great. Paul Pierce had an incredible sense of urgency. You could see from the start of the game they were not going to shoot jumpers. And they got 50 points in the paint and shot 28 free throws.’’

Not too shabby for a bunch of “old’’ guys.

What might have been

Sure, every team makes mistakes on Draft Night. But if the Sixers hadn’t made a bunch of them, you probably wouldn’t recognize these Celtics.

Philadelphia had the opportunity to draft Garnett, Pierce, and Rajon Rondo.

In 1995, holding the No. 3 pick, the Sixers were delighted to grab North Carolina All-America Jerry Stackhouse. After Washington selected Stackhouse’s Tar Heel teammate Rasheed Wallace at No. 4, the Minnesota Timberwolves went for high school sensation Garnett at No. 5.

Three years later, picking eighth, Larry Brown’s Sixers went for Saint Louis freshman guard Larry Hughes. Then, after Dallas swooped in to take Dirk Nowitzki ninth, the Celtics had to “settle’’ for Pierce at No. 10.

And in 2006, after the Sixers got Memphis guard Rodney Carney at No. 16, Rondo became a Celtic at No. 21 (drafted by Phoenix then traded).

One more draft blunder, though it has nothing to do with the Celtics. In 1993, with the No. 2 pick, Philadelphia passed on Penny Hardaway for 7-foot-6-inch Shawn Bradley.

And that doesn’t include the 1986 deal that sent the No. 1 pick (which turned out to be Brad Daugherty) to Cleveland for forward Roy Hinson.

Allen the answer?

Statistics can play tricks on you, but here’s an interesting one. According to Collins, when Sixers rookie big man Lavoy Allen is on the court, Garnett is shooting just 46 percent. When Allen is off the floor, KG’s percentage spikes to nearly 71 percent. Keep that in mind, especially if Allen gets into foul trouble again, as he did in Game 3.

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