Celtics lose a close Game 2 in second round to Sixers
The Philadelphia 76ers’ aggressiveness disrupted the Celtics’ offense in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Monday night. And the Celtics were their own worst enemies as late-game execution miscues contributed to an 82-81 loss at TD Garden.
This was the fourth successive skin-tight contest for the Celtics, who concluded their first-round series against Atlanta with a 1-point loss and a 3-point victory. The Celtics staggered through much of Game 1 before taking a 92-91 decision over Philadelphia, generating a feeling that if they performed up to standards the second game would be theirs.
And that appeared to be happening as the Celtics scored the first 9 points of the game. But the Celtics’ offense struggled over the next 34 minutes, 10 seconds, producing only 40 points. Yet, the Celtics led by 4 late in the third quarter and might have pulled this one out but for an unexpected basket by rookie Lavoy Allen, clutch conversions by 21-year-old Jrue Holiday and 23-year-old Evan Turner, plus last-second fouls by Kevin Garnett and Rajon Rondo.
Re: Celtics lose a close Game 2 in second round to Sixers
Meanwhile, Pierce may not be an offensive factor in this series. Iguodala is one of the game’s top defenders and against a wobbly Pierce, he is even more effective. The Celtics tried to work Pierce into the offense down the stretch and he couldn’t deliver. He was 0-for-4 shooting with 2 points in the second half, when the Celtics only needed one final push to prevail.
“[They] are who we thought they are,’’ Pierce said, channeling his inner Dennis Green. “They are a tough defensive team, they grind it out defensively, they try the fast break and they’re not going to give in. They have a good coach over there who installs his mentality into his players so nothing is surprising, they are what we expected them to be.’’
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