The Eastern Conference semi-final series is down to the best-of-3 when the Boston Celtics host the Philadelphia 76ers tonight, Monday May 21st, for Game 5. Philadelphia evened the series at 2-2 by rallying from 18 points down in Game 4. NBA oddsmakers have the Celtics as -5.5 point home favorites over the 76ers with the over/under set at 173.5 points. Be sure to check the Philadelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics Game 5 2012 NBA Point Spreads before the game tips-off.
Philadelphia (6-4, 2-3 V) rallied from 18 points down in the third quarter to win Friday’s Game 4 and reignite talk of notching a second-round upset. Lou Williams scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half as Philadelphia overcame its dismal start to take a 92-83 victory over the Celtics to even their series at two games apiece. The 76ers have recovered from double-digit deficits to win three times this postseason. Andre Iguodala added 16 points with seven rebounds and four assists for the Sixers, whose bench outscored Boston’s 44-12. Evan Turner also dropped in 16 points, despite 5-of-22 shooting, while Thaddeus Young had 12 and Jrue Holiday netted 11 in the win.
The extra day of rest between games may help the aged Celtics, but it also should do wonders for the Sixers. For one thing, Evan Turner shoots the ball better with an extra day between games. In games after two days of rest, Evan Turner’s field goal percentage climbed to 63.8 percent compared to 43.5 percent with one day of rest. Additionally, his scoring average jumps from 8.8 with one day of rest to 13.8 with two days of rest. With three days of rest, Turner averages 16.3 points per game. So, after a 5-for-22 shooting performance in Game 4, maybe the extra day will serve Turner well. For Elton Brand the extra day off should help his injured neck and shoulder, too.
Boston’s (6-4, 4-1 H) Paul Pierce scored a game-high 24 points and Rajon Rondo had 15 points and 15 assists in a losing effort. “I thought we lost out composure. Once we did, I thought we really never returned to playing basketball the way we played in the first half,” Doc Rivers said.
The question for tonight’s Game 5 at TD Garden is whether Rivers will stick with the same lineup again down the stretch. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Avery Bradley, and Rajon Rondo could do little to stop Philadelphia in the fourth quarter. With no legitimate big man besides Garnett in the paint, the Celtics were helpless against the duo of Thaddeus Young and Lavoy Allen. Brandon Bass played three seconds of the fourth quarter and reserve center Ryan Hollins played 14 seconds. Ray Allen played the entire fourth quarter, but Rivers acknowledged Allen’s defense has suffered because of his ailing right ankle.
“It goes game to game, it really does,’’ Rivers said when asked about the effectiveness of his small lineup. “I think honestly if we made one mistake we should have went back to Bass [and the bigger lineup]. The first three games our small lineup was a better lineup than our big lineup. Statistically in Game 4, the big lineup was better. The big lineup is what got us the lead. The big lineup is what in the beginning of the third got us off to a good start. Both times when we went small, it actually hurt us.
The 34-year-old Paul Pierce has been dealing with a sprained MCL is his left knee, while the 36-year-old Ray Allen is hampered by bone spurs in his right ankle. Kevin Garnett is relatively healthy but turned 36 over the weekend and finally looked like it in Game 4, finishing 3-for-12 from the floor with nine points. Also, Avery Bradley, Boston’s top perimeter defender, continues to deal with a left shoulder that has popped out of its socket at least four times this season.
The Bottom Line: The Celtics rebound big when dissed about their age. Want to dominate the books this season with some of the best NBA Picks Experts in the business? Then sign up right now and get NBA Picks Free!
Recent Trends to Consider:
Over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings.
76ers are 8-3 ATS in the last 11 meetings.
76ers are 5-2 ATS in the last 7 meetings in Boston.
76ers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Atlantic.
Celtics are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a home favorite.
Celtics are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Atlantic.
Celtics are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games playing on 2 days rest.
Celtics are 4-17 ATS in their last 21 playoff games as a favorite of 5.0-10.5.
Celtics are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Conference Semifinals games.
Philadelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics
When: Monday, May 21st@7:00 PM EST
Pick: Celtics -5.5
Point-Spreads recommends you check the Philadelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics 2012 NBA Point Spreads before the tip-off.