2012 NBA Playoffs Conference Semifinals Preview: Philadelphia 76ers v.s. Boston Celtics


The 2012 NBA Playoffs move on as the Eastern Conference semifinals begin this Saturday. The 5th-seed Boston Celtics will host the 8th-seed Philadelphia 76ers. Both teams will look to keep their hot streak going and punch their ticket to the Eastern Conference finals.

The Philadelphia 76ers became only the fifth team in NBA history to come into the NBA playoffs as the 8th-seed and defeat the 1st-seed. They were able to achieve this by knocking off a Chicago Bulls team without Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in six games. The Chicago Bulls played tough without two of their best players, but the Philadelphia 76ers ended their season with two made free throws by Andre Iguodala after Omer Aisk missed two free throws on the other end.

The Philadelphia 76ers had consistently good performances from Jrue Holiday and Lou Williams. Holiday and Williams were the top two scorers with 18.2 and 12.8 points per game respectively. The one thing that the Philadelphia 76ers lack going to the the Eastern Conference semifinals is presence down low. In their first round series against the Chicago Bulls, the Philadelphia 76ers looked weak in the paint and let Taj Gibson and Omer Asik cause havoc offensively in the paint. This could hurt the Philadelphia 76ers because the Boston Celtics have a good paint presence in the form of Kevin Garnett.

On the other side, the Boston Celtics made it close, but in the end knocked off the 4th-seed Atlanta Hawks in six games. They were able to get past the Atlanta Hawks by having great perfomances from Paul Pierce , Kevin Garnett, and their triple-double machine, Rajon Rondo. The Boston Celtics have the potential to win this series early if they can get all four of their scorers on a rolls against Philadelphia.

The biggest questions for the Boston Celtics come from the injuries to Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Paul Pierce is nursing a sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee. Even though Paul Pierce is averaging 21.2 points per game, it is clear that he is not moving well because of this knee injury. Pierce has come out an said that the injury most likely will not get better until the season’s over and that he will just have to not overdo it on the court.

Another player that the Boston Celtics are hoping will bounce back in the Eastern Conference semifinals is Ray Allen. Ray Allen is suffering from bone spurs in his right ankle. This injury kept him out for the first two games of the 2012 NBA Playoffs. The injury seemed to have an affect on Ray Allen in Game Six against the Atlanta Hawks. He went 1-for-7 from the field and missed two free throws. The Boston Celtics are hoping that he can bounce back and play like he did in games 3 through 5 against the Atlanta Hawks.

The biggest advantage that the Boston Celtics have over the Philadelphia 76ers is presence in the paint. Kevin Garnett will be a key player for the Boston Celtics on the offensive side of the ball because the Philadelphia 76ers are lacking  in the paint physically. If Kevin Garnett can do what Taj Gibson and Omer Asik were able to do in the paint, then the Boston Celtics could easily beat the Philadelphia 76ers. Take that and add the shooting ability of Paul Pierce and Ray Allen with the overall dynamic play of Rajon Rondo and the Boston Celtics have the potential to easily get past the Philadelphia 76ers and reach the Eastern Conference finals.

Ricky’s Prediction: Boston Celtics in 5 games

For more 2012 NBA Playoffs coverage, check out my podcast The Onside Kick. The Onside Kick covers all the biggest stories in the NBA, NCAA Basketball, NFL, NCAA Football, and MLB.

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