Aside from Paul Pierce and Rajon Rondo’s strong offensive play (Rondo had 15 points, 15 assists and two steals, and Pierce had 24 points to lead all scorers), the Celtics were weak on the inside, attempting to shoot largely from the outside and largely conceding rebounds to Philadelphia’s big men. When Boston’s won, they’ve gone strong to the hoop and have made the 76ers foul them. When they lose, they go back to the perimeter offense. Pierce and Rondo will have to take the lead here in the next couple of games if the Celtics want to advance. But even more likely, this game will go down to the last basket of Game 7 – and justifiably so, in what’s been an exciting and thoroughly unpredictable series.
San Antonio, for all the talk of their collective age in the face of the Los Angeles Clippers’ young and highly athletic starters, stoically pushed back the clock in taking a pair of games from Los Angeles in successive days, 96-86 on Saturday and 102-99 on Sunday to win their Western semifinal series, 4-0. Aside from the fact that they closed out the series on L.A.’s home court, San Antonio made nothing short of a phenomenal comeback on Saturday – they were down by 24 points at the end of the first half, but patiently and systematically ate away at that lead during the third quarter to stun the Clippers. It was a vintage performance for a savvy and well-coached San Antonio team that’s now won 18 games in a row and eight consecutive playoff contests.