Not long after the Sixers signed Elton Brand all the Sixers vs. Celtics rivalry talk started up. Boston now atop the league as the defending NBA champion after years of bad basketball. The Sixers late surge last season pushing the Detroit Pistons in the first round of the playoffs. The signing of Elton Brand, supposedly the “missing piece,” the rivalry will be renewed – on paper.
“On paper” was all the talk during the off-season. How good the Sixers looked. Why now is the time to take the next step and compete with the big dogs. So far this season that “paper” is a D- term project that many fans would love to wipe their ass with.
There is still no rivalry. Not until the Sixers act like they want their to be one. Meaning they start playing basketball at a very high level – all game, every game. Not 5 minutes here, one quarter there. Every game for 4 quarters.
Tonight the Sixers face by far their toughest opponent in the Boston Celtics in their house. How will they respond? Will they rise to the challenge, compete with the defending champs and come out of there with their best win of the season? Or will they simply continue to play they way they have which assuredly will lead to them getting blown out of the TD Banknorth Garden?
I am really looking to see how Elton Brand plays. Kevin Garnett is extremely competitive and takes it personally when he goes up against the better big men in the NBA. I watched him completely take Chris Bosh out of the game when they beat Toronto the first time season. Brand and Garnett are familar with each from their Western conference battles and I am really excited to watch this match up.
Can Thaddeus Young slow Paul Pierce down? Pierce has not shot the ball particular well but he has come up big late in a few games. Young will be put to the test defensively all game.
I said in my earlier post I was going to try and track uncontested shots allowed by the Sixers. This is actually the perfect game to do it because the one thing I distinct thing I noticed with Boston last season was their relentless contesting of shots. The Sixers will need to do the same thing tonight if they want a chance to beat the Celtics.
Sadly though, when it’s all said and done, I just don’t think the Sixers will be able to score enough points against their defense to win this game. I hope they prove me wrong.