Back to Boston we go for Game 5 of the series between the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics. The game is scheduled for a 7:00 pm start time and it will be televised live on TNT. Currently the odds have Boston favored by 5.5 points with the total sitting at 173.5 points for the contest.
Free Analysis: The 76ers pulled off a stunning comeback over the Celtics on Friday to even the series at two games apiece, but now the East semifinals shift to Boston for tonight's Game 5. Philadelphia erased an 18-point deficit in the second half and beat the Celtics handily, 92-83. The 76ers bench outscored Boston’s bench 44 to 12, as the reserve trio of PG Lou Williams (15 points, 8 assists,), SF Thaddeus Young (12 points, 9 rebounds) and PF Lavoy Allen (8 points, 10 rebounds) all had huge performances. Philly controlled the glass with a 52-38 rebounding advantage and outscored Boston in the paint 34-26. SF Andre Iguodala and SG Evan Turner each led the team with 16 points, but Turner made just 5-of-22 shots. However, he did pull down nine rebounds and was the only starter not to post a negative rating. Iguodala had seven rebounds (three offensive) with four assists, and is now averaging 14.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 4.8 APG in the series. PG Jrue Holiday scored in double figures for the third straight game, but followed up his nine-assist performance in Game 3 with just one assist in Game 4. Holiday did have seven rebounds though, which were more than starters C Spencer Hawes and PF Elton Brand who combined for just five rebounds in 30 minutes of play. The Celtics have been a strong home team this season (28-10, 19-19 ATS), and are also 7-2 SU in the past nine home meetings with Philly. But the Sixers (18-20, 20-18 ATS on road this year) won Game 2 at TD Garden and are 5-2 ATS in the past seven visits there. Boston PF Kevin Garnett was arguably the MVP of the series in Games 1-3 with 23.7 PPG (63.3% FG) and 12.0 RPG, but he had a dreadful Game 4 with just nine points (3-of-12 FG) and seven turnovers to negate his 11 boards. PG Rajon Rondo dished out another 15 assists on Friday, giving him 14.8 APG for the series. And since scoring a mere 10.5 PPG on 10-for-27 shooting in the first two games, he’s got 19.0 PPG on 16-of-30 FG in the past two games. SF Paul Pierce has also been much better in his past two games (24.0 PPG on 14-of-30 FG) than in Games 1-2 (10.5 PPG on 5-of-20 FG). Unlike his two teammates, SG Ray Allen shot well at home in the first two games (14.5 PPG on 11-of-24 FG), but hasn’t been able to free himself in the past two contests on the road (4.0 PPG on 3-of-7 FG). Despite the two off-days, neither team has been great with a long layoff, as both clubs are 5-6 this season with 2+ days of rest. Philly is a mediocre 20-20 (SU and ATS) coming off an SU win, but Boston is just 17-13 (14-16 ATS) after an SU loss. Both teams have played incredible defense in the 2012 playoffs, as the Celtics are giving up 84.9 PPG on 40% FG, and the 76ers aren’t far behind at 86.9 PPG on 43% FG.
Free Pick: Not sure if they can win the game outright, but I do believe the Sixers can keep this one close. The first 2 games in this series, at Boston were decided by 1 point and that shows how much the Sixers are not intimidated by this Boston team. Philly is 5-2 ATS in their last 7 trips to Boston and they are in virtually every game thanks to their defense and the coaching of Collins. This guy just doesn't let them give up. They were down 14-0 in game 4 yet came back to win the game. Philly has been very good defensively as they have allowed just 86.9 ppg in the playoffs this year, and that has resulted in some tight ball games. This will be another tight ball game that should come down to the wire. Philly is not intimidated here and with a couple of breaks they may steal this one outright. This one will come down to the wire.
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