Saturday night will be the sixth time the Philadelphia and Boston have met in a Game 7.
These are two of the NBA’s legendary franchises and located less than a six-hour train ride apart. They are natural rivals and this Game 7 Saturday in the Eastern Conference semifinals is just the next chapter in that history.
Let’s take a look back at the first five (the Celtics lead 3-2):
1965 division finals: Celtics 110, Sixers 109: Everyone thought this would Philadelphia’s year — ending the Celtics six-year title streak — because they had just acquired this little guy named Wilt Chamberlain. Wasn’t to be the case. This was a one-point game at the end and Philly was going to have the last shot but John Havlicek stole the inbound pass. Boston made it seven titles in a row knocking off the Lakers.
1968 Division finals: Celtics 100, Sixers 96: Philly was the defending NBA champion and had a 3-1 series lead on the Celtics, but it wasn’t enough. Boston had Sam Jones dropping 22 in the final game and Philly had no answer.
1977 conference semifinals: Sixers 83, Celtics 77: This was a low-scoring game just like Game 7 this year will be. You’d like to think the newly acquired Dr. J was the answer for the Sixers (and he wasn’t bad) but it was World B. Free dropping 27 off the bench that was the difference. You hear that Lou Williams?
1981 conference finals: Celtics 91, Sixers 90: This was as close an NBA playoff series as there has ever been — five games were decided by 2 points or less. Including Game 7, where Larry Bird drained the game-winning jumper. Bird did those sorts of things, he was cold blooded.
1982 conference finals: 76ers 120, Celtics 106: This is the 7th game current Sixers coach Doug Collins pulled out to show his team before Game 6, to say it could be done. This is the game where Andrew Toney earned the nickname “The Boston Stranger” as he had 34 points and hit all the big shots it seemed. But that Dr. J guy added 29, he was impressive as always.
The Los Angeles Clippers dropped Game 5 to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night, and find themselves down 3-2 as they head back to Salt Lake City for Game 6. The Clippers have had to deal with Utah’s formidable defense, so much so that they’ve built in counters to Jazz defenders overplaying shooters like JJ Redick.
One example of this countering method could be found in Game 3, when the Clippers ran a split cut for Redick. Instead of fighting endlessly around screens for a 3-point shot as you might expect, LA took the easy route and simply cut Redick to the basket for an easy layup as a means to take advantage of an overeager defender.
We’ve talked about the Split Cut here on NBA Playbook before. The Los Angeles Lakers used it earlier in the season to beat the Golden State Warriors, the team that uses the split cut perhaps the most out of any team in the NBA.
Other teams, including the Portland Trail Blazers, have adapted the Warriors’ use of the split cut as a counter for their own offense this season, which is a testament to just how useful it is.
If you need a reminder, a split cut all about a screener coming up to screen, then cutting toward the basket before his screen action fully takes place. It’s about timing, and catching defenders off guard when they go to set up their recover positions for screens.
For a full breakdown on the split cut and how the Clippers used it, watch the video above.
John Wall has been super, averaging 27 points and 11 assists while leading the Wizards to a 3-2 lead over the Hawks in the first-round.
Fred Hoiberg opened himself to clowning by complaining about Isaiah Thomas carrying.
So, the Bulls coach got clowned after the Celtics’ Game 5 win.
Late in the Celtics’ Game 5 win over the Bulls last night, Jae Crowder leg-locked Robin Lopez – the same dirty play that caused rancor for Matthew Dellavedova in the 2015 playoffs.
Lopez blocked Crowder’s shot, but the ball went to Al Horford, who attacked the basket. As Lopez tried to rotate to contest another shot, he couldn’t move. Crowder, who’d fallen to the floor, had him in a leg-lock. Lopez freed himself just in time to foul Horford.
Adding insult to avoided injury, Lopez got hit with a technical foul for complaining about the no-call.
I bet the league issues a technical foul on Crowder, too.