76ers-Celtics Preview

It could be difficult for the Philadelphia 76ers and Boston

Celtics to provide a more exciting game less than 24 hours later

after staging a thriller.

These Atlantic Division foes played an emotional and pulsating

overtime contest one night before Saturday night’s rematch at the

TD Garden.

The 76ers-Celtics rivalry used to be one of the best in the NBA.

That kind of intensity could be back now after Boston eliminated

Philadelphia in seven games in last season’s playoffs.

The 76ers (11-8) have responded by winning the first two

matchups since, including a 95-94 victory Friday at home. That

contest featured trash talking by both teams, with Evan Turner

yelling at Paul Pierce on one sequence.

“When the adrenaline kicks in and trash talk occurs, you want to

shut the other team up,” Turner said.

Turner did exactly that with another big game against the

Celtics with 26 points and 10 rebounds. He had team highs of 25

points and 11 boards in a 106-100 victory at Boston (10-9) on Nov.


After missing his first four shots in overtime, Turner drove

past Courtney Lee and tossed up an off-balance, right-handed shot

for the winner with 3.9 seconds left.

“Hopefully, it’s the first of many,” Turner said. “I’m glad I

was able to break through.”

The Celtics lost despite Rajon Rondo’s triple-double. Rondo had

16 points, 14 assists and a season-high 13 rebounds.

It was Boston’s first loss in Rondo’s 14 triple-doubles and the

point guard slipped and his ankles buckled on the game’s last

possession, costing him a chance to maintain that perfect


“It’s frustrating,” Rondo said. “But the good thing about the

NBA is you’ve got a chance to bounce back tomorrow night and get it


Rondo also missed a potential game-winner at the end of


“This is a make-miss league,” coach Doc Rivers said. “When you

miss open shots, you’re going to lose. And they made theirs.”

Pierce scored 27 points and Kevin Garnett added 17 and 10

rebounds. Garnett is no stranger to trash talk, and he sounded like

he couldn’t wait for Saturday night.

“Philly plays us tough. We all know that,” Garnett said. “But

we’re building something here, and we’ll take what we need out of

this and get ready to get right back after them.”

The Sixers won despite 37.4 percent shooting as the Celtics

trapped point guard Jrue Holiday on numerous possessions. Thaddeus

Young scored 17 points and Holiday added 15, although both made

just 7 of 18 shots.

“I found out a lot about my guys tonight, I really did,” coach

Doug Collins said.

Philadelphia avoided its first three-game slide. Spencer Hawes,

who Collins challenged in practice Thursday, turned in a solid

effort with 10 points and six boards.

Collins had a message for his team regarding this rematch.

“He says the great ones do it when they’re tired,” Turner said.

“Tomorrow’s going to be key, both teams are going to be tired. I

think we can pull through.”

Sixers reserve guard Nick Young has missed the last three games

with a left big toe hyperextension, but could return Saturday. He

lived up to his “Swaggy P” nickname when he walked into the locker

room wearing leopard skin shoes Friday.