76ers go into Game 6 knowing changes are needed


76ers go into Game 6 knowing changes are needed

BOSTON -- The Philadelphia 76ers know they have to win Game 6 on Wednesday to stay alive in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

They also know their series against the Boston Celtics has been a roller coaster of runs and uncertainties, with neither team winning back-to-back games to this point.

After being put on the brink of elimination following the Celtics dominating 101-85 victory in Game 5, the 76ers are focused on righting their wrongs to force a seventh game.

We have to go out and compete, thats it, said Evan Turner. We beat them a couple times and just try to do that again.

The statement sounds simple, but how will the 76ers address the need to compete? After Game 5, they discussed some of the necessary changes for Game 6.

Play Four Quarters: The 76ers led, 50-47, at halftime before being outscored, 54-35, in the second half. Brandon Bass individually scored two more points in the third quarter (18) than the 76ers did as a whole (16).

They did a good job of finding a spot and our defense kept hurting us, said Andre Iguodala. We couldnt fix it. Offensively we just couldnt get a good rhythm going. They played a great game tonight.

Limit Turnovers: Head coach Doug Collins was unhappy with his teams 15 turnovers (the Celtics committed 10).

You cant make careless, one-handed passes against this team, Collins said. Theyre too good. Theyre quick. Their perimeter guys have great anticipation. Theyre physical, and we didnt do a good job with that. We did not meet the tenacity that they played with from the middle of the third quarter on.

Protect the Paint: The Celtics scored 44 points in the paint in Game 5, a significant jump from 26 in the 76ers Game 4 win. As a result, their bigs, Bass, Kevin Garnett, and Greg Stiemsma combined for 56 percent of their offense.

They got in the paint, they got a lot of easy baskets, said Lavoy Allen. Once we give up those easy baskets, they started hitting jump shots, they started getting a little groove going, and we couldnt stop them. Keeping them out of the paint, thats the most important.

Stay Focused: As Turner pointed out, the 76ers have beat the Celtics twice in the series and know how to defeat the veteran squad. The Celtics have the edge on experience, but the young Sixers group cant let them get inside their heads.

We dont use that as an excuse, Allen said of the Cs experience. They have who they have. It doesnt mean we should play the way we did tonight. We just played bad.

Plenty of on-the-job training for Celtics' rookies

Plenty of on-the-job training for Celtics' rookies

BOSTON – With all the changes the Celtics went through over the summer, seeing more rookies on the floor this season was a given.
But six?
Yes, only three games into the season and the Celtics have played more rookies than any team under fifth-year coach Brad Stevens.


And in the 102-92 victory at Philadelphia on Friday night, the Celtics (1-2) played almost as many first-year players (five) as veterans (six).
The youth movement here in Boston has been sped up a bit by the season-ending injury to Gordon Hayward, compounded by a left ankle sprain to Marcus Smart that Smart said won’t keep him out any more than Friday night in Philly.

Even if Smart is back in the Celtics lineup Tuesday night against New York, that doesn’t change the fact that Boston will continue to need rookies to step up and contribute going forward as they did on Friday.
And while there’s an old adage about experience being the greatest teacher, Boston’s youngsters are going to have to fast-forward past some of those on-the-floor growing pains for the Celtics to stay among the top teams in the East.
“Everybody talks about young players having to learn by going through experience,” said Stevens. “Why don’t we just watch film and learn? Learn from things we can control and in the interim, let’s beat the age thing. Let’s not talk about the age thing. Let’s talk about how we can be better at what we can control and how we can learn and grow every day and expedite the learning curve.
Stevens added, “because they are going to get opportunities all the way down the line, let’s not focus on trying to learn from experience; let’s focus on learning from every day and see if we can get a little bit better every day.”
The one rookie who has had no problem adjusting to the NBA game early on has been Jayson Tatum.
Selected with the third overall pick last June, Tatum has been among the NBA's most productive rookies in this first week of the season.
Tatum’s 35.3 minutes played per game is tops among all rookies. His 12.3 points and 9.0 rebounds rank seventh and fourth among his first-year brethren.
Stevens loves what he has seen thus far from Tatum, but believes he’s capable of making an even greater impact sooner rather than later.
“I like him to shoot it on the catch more,” Stevens said. “Because he has tremendous touch. When he shoots it in rhythm with confidence, the ball finds the net. He’s one of those guys; he’s a natural scorer. But his ability to read the game … he’s very intelligent. It’s been more evident on the defensive end. He’s gonna pick his spots offensively now. But we want him to be aggressive and first and foremost, be a threat to shoot it every time he catches it.
Stevens added, “I guess it should feel pretty good when you’re 19 years old and your coach is begging you to shoot it.”
How quickly Tatum and the rest of Boston’s youngsters grow into the roles they will be asked to play this season can do nothing but help the Celtics adapt to what has already been a season with major changes needing to be made.
“You saw [against Philadelphia], we had Shane [Larkin], we had Guerschon [Yabusele], we had guys coming in that played the game at a high level and we need them to contribute,” said Boston’s Kyrie Irving. “For me to see that and witness that, it makes me nothing but proud and happy to have teammates that are ready to play. It’s not always going to look perfect because we’re still gaining knowledge about one another. But as long as we’re out there competing, having each other’s backs, that’s all that matters.”

Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for his inappropriate language with a fan


Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for his inappropriate language with a fan

BOSTON – As expected, the NBA has fined Celtics guard Kyrie Irving $25,000 for using “inappropriate language” toward a fan at the Friday night game in Philadelphia.
The incident occurred at halftime as Irving and his teammates were heading to the locker room, trailing by four. Boston went on to win 102-92 for their first victory of the season.
A fan yelled, “Hey, where’s LeBron?” to which Irving replied with a lewd suggestion to the yeller.
The Celtics practiced on Saturday with Irving addressing the incident.

When asked if he had any regrets about the incident, Irving replied, “Hell no. Man enough to record it on video, that’s on him. I’m glad he got his ad name out there, and his five seconds of fame and it’s gone viral. That’s social media platform we live on.
Irving added, “I take full responsibility for what I said. You move on.”
When asked about the incident on Saturday, Celtics coach Brad Stevens said he had not seen the video but was aware of it.
“People make mistakes; hopefully learn from them and move on,” Stevens said. “There’s a right and wrong. And if you’re in the wrong you have to own up to it and that’s that.”

It was the second such fine levied by the league in as many days. 

New Orleans center DeMarcus Cousins was fined $25,000 for "inappropriate language" toward a fan when the Pelicans lost 103-91 at Memphis on Wednesday.