Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Four

Celtics, Sixers try to woo fickle lady momentum in Game 5

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What part of Game 4 will we see repeated in Game 5?

The start where the Celtics looked poised and crisp and raced out to a 14 point lead? Or the second half where the Sixers dominated the offensive glass, got fantastic bench play from Lavoy Allen (guarding Kevin Garnett) and Thaddeus Young, they had Andre Iguodala knocking down big shots.

Game 5 is back in Boston Monday night and the pendulum of momentum has swung pretty quickly from side to side in this series. From game-to-game and quarter-to-quarter.

The Sixers had it last in a Game 4 where they forced 17 turnovers, grabbed 17 offensive rebounds allowed and raced out to 27 fast break points. That is exactly what Philadelphia needs in Game 5 — those are hustle points where they outworked and used their youthful athleticism to get the shots that worked for them.

But Boston is back home and they will be trying to get Paul Pierce — who has woken up and had 24 points in Game 4 — hot at the same time as Kevin Garnett. With the defense form Allen as the key, KG was held to 9 points on 25 percent shooting in Game 4 and Boston needs his points against a stingy Sixers defense.

After how it went late last game, don’t expect Doc Rivers to go with his small lineup for very long, we may see more Brandon Bass. And Boston needs him to contribute.

That ties into the real key in this game — and with it maybe the series —which team will get an unexpected pickup from a guy who is struggling? Will Ray Allen start knocking down shots? Can Philly get production out of Evan Turner or Jrue Holiday? (I’m not holding out much hope for Elton Brand there.)

This has been a back-and-forth series and predicting which bench fickle lady momentum will start or finish this game on is impossible. This is the kind of game we have grown to expect Boston to step up in, but Philly has answered every call.

PBT Extra: Who do you want to see most in first All-Star Game?

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Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.

This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.

The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.

Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.

Russell Westbrook: ‘Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—’ (video)

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Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.

Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”

You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.

Russell Westbrook commits epic travel (video)

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Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.

The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.

And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:

Are Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on speaking terms after apparent conversation? Westbrook: ‘Nah’ (video)

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Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.

That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.

Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.

ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.

After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:

 

  • Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
  • Westbrook: “Nah.”
  • Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
  • Westbrook: “What exchange?”
  • Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
  • Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”

This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.

That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.

I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.