76ers settle for a hollow win

The Sixers' Thaddeus Young beats the Celtics' Semih Erden to the basket in the exhibition victory.
The Sixers' Thaddeus Young beats the Celtics' Semih Erden to the basket in the exhibition victory.
Posted: October 13, 2010

At first glance, a victory over the Boston Celtics seems to be a promising result for the oft-struggling 76ers.

Preseason or not, the Celtics are the Celtics.

But if you look a little closer, Tuesday night's 103-92 win over Boston at the Wells Fargo Center was about as hollow as a basketball.

Boston coach Doc Rivers rested his entire starting lineup: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Shaquille O'Neal. In their place, Rivers started a few go-to role players and at least one guy trying to play his way into an NBA contract.

Against this backup unit, the Sixers appeared more evenly matched than they did last week in Manchester, N.H., when the first-string Celtics beat them, 93-65.

"I know the Celtics' starters didn't play, but still that's a very tough defensive team," Sixers coach Doug Collins said.

"Was it against the Celtics' second team? Yeah, but I'm not going to diminish the fact that our guys fought back and won that game, because it looked pretty ugly with about six minutes gone in the third."

The Sixers, now 1-3 in the preseason, visit the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night.

At the end of the first quarter Tuesday, the Sixers were ahead, 25-21. By halftime, Boston was ahead, 47-46, and had built its slim advantage behind the quick-triggered scoring of guard Nate Robinson and by grabbing eight more rebounds than the Sixers.

For the game, the Celtics outrebounded the Sixers, 38-29. In the Sixers' starting frontcourt, Thaddeus Young had four rebounds and Elton Brand had none.

Robinson finished with 23 points, nailing three three-pointers.

Boston's second string took pleasure in competing with, and often besting, the Sixers' first string. Midway through the third quarter, the Celtics took a 61-49 lead on a free throw by Von Wafer.

Collins responded by playing what, one must assume, was a tighter lineup than most preseason games, but more dependent on his second unit. None of Collins' starters - Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Andre Iguodala, Young, and Brand - played fewer than 28 minutes, but both Iguodala and Brand sat for the fourth quarter.

Collins played 10 players, using four substitutes (Lou Williams, Marreese Speights, Jason Kapono, and Andres Nocioni) for more than 18 minutes. Speights led the Sixers with 19 points.

At the end of the third quarter, the Sixers were ahead by 71-69, coming back from that 12-point deficit. They mostly used the scoring of their substitutes and some unusually amazing three-point shooting.

The Sixers finished the game 10 for 12 from beyond the arc, including a 4-for-4 performance by Kapono.


 

Read Kate Fagan's 76ers blog, "Deep Sixer",

at www.philly.com/sixers.


Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at 856-779-3844 or kfagan@phillynews.com.

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