PHILADELPHIA — Will we see another counter-punch?
The Sixers looked beaten down toward the end of Monday night’s101-85 Celtics win in Game 5. But we’ve seen them look down before, and they bounced back nicely to win Game 4 after getting blown out in Game 3. Both teams have uttered the phrase “it’s the playoffs” over and over again this series when explaining that these things tend to go back and forth, and so far they’ve been right. The Celtics haven’t exactly been great closers (see: Hawks, Atlanta a couple of weeks ago).
Haven’t made a prediction in this space yet this series, and we’re certainly not about to start.
Here are the details for tonight’s game:
Tip-off: 8 p.m.
Series: Celtics lead, 3-2
Broadcast info: ESPN, WEEI/850 AM/93.7 FM (Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell)
PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Ray Allen
SF: Paul Pierce
PF: Brandon Bass
C: Kevin Garnett
PG: Jrue Holiday
SG: Evan Turner
SF: Andre Iguodala
PF: Elton Brand
C: Spencer Hawes
Bradley’s shoulder: Avery Bradley was finally forced to sit with his left shoulder injury, and Doc Rivers said Monday it could be an issue going forward. Ray Allen and Keyon Dooling were uninspiring in place of Bradley in Game 5. Philadelphia didn’t take advantage of that Monday, but maybe with some time to plan they can tonight. Bradley, as usual, is questionable.
Who steps up?: Brandon Bass isn’t going to score 18 points in a quarter again. He just isn’t. And so someone else needs to step up for the Celtics. We keep waiting for it to be Allen, but that hasn’t happened. Mickael Pietrus? Ryan Hollins? A big game from Pierce?
KG’s bluster: It took a while, but we finally got the first bulletin-board material of the series when Kevin Garnett called Sixers fans “fair weather” fans. That’s not going to play well in Philly, where the fans seem to combine the most, ahem, boisterous aspects of New York and Boston fans. Will the Sixers themselves be fired up by the comments? Probably not. But it’s something to talk about.