Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Sixers Hand Celtics 50th Win, Green Shelved

"Hell Week" couldn't have started much worse for the Sixers. Not only did they lose by a wide margin to the Celtics, they also lost the services of Willie Green for at least the next two games.

Despite tremendous support from a sold-out Wachovia Center, the Sixers rarely threatened to make it much of a game against the Celtics, losing 100-86. The Celtics slowed the tempo down, forcing the Sixers into half-court sets and taking them away from their fastbreak offense. The Sixers also shot terrible from behind the three point line, hitting only 2 of 17. Mr. Reliable Andre Miller even had an off game. Despite getting 22 points and 8 rebounds, he shot just 7 of 20 from the field. Andre Iguodala didn't fare much better, hitting just 5 of 14 shots for 17 points. One positive for the Sixers: their bench outscored the Celtics bench, 36-23.

Willie Green played 12 minutes last night before leaving with a lower back strain. He won't be going on the road trip, so he will miss the games against Detroit and Chicago. He may also miss Sunday's game against the Spurs.

The Sixers need to be playing their best basketball to stay competitive with the Pistons and Spurs, so losing Willie Green will be a big blow. Green is one of the few Sixers who can make shots from the outside since the trading of Kyle Korver, so he will be missed in that regard. Of course, it will likely mean bigger roles for Thaddeus Young and Louis Williams, so it will be good to see them in crucial situations against top teams.

Yesterday I said that the Sixers would need a split this week to maintain their playoff position in the Eastern Conference. So far they are 0-1, and they need to win two of their next three. Do they have enough to knock off Detroit or San Antonio? They will have to play much better than they did against Boston if that's going to happen.

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