With the Sixers' first trip to the Eastern Conference finals since the 2000-01 season, what will they be thinking?
"I think our guys feel good about going in there and having this opportunity," Sixers coach Doug Collins said Friday following practice at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. "I think they are excited about going in there and having this Game 7 and seeing what we can do."
Scared? Intimidated, maybe?
"I don't feel like our guys are fearful at all," Collins continued. "I think our mind-set is good."
The winner will move on to face the Heat in the Eastern Conference finals. Game 1 is Monday night in Miami.
Saturday's game with the Celtics is the sixth Game 7 between the franchises but the first since the Sixers won on Boston Garden's parquet floor in the 1982 Eastern Conference finals.
The only Sixers on the roster to have played in a Game 7 are starting power forward Elton Brand (who played in one with the Los Angeles Clippers) and reserves Tony Battie (Orlando) and Sam Young (Memphis). Brand's Clippers fell on the road at Phoenix in the 2006 Western Conference semifinals.
The Suns, an older team like the Celtics, routed Brand's Clippers after getting an extra day of rest, thanks to the schedule. This Boston team will also benefit from two days of rest.
Brand believes his Sixers teammates, although much younger than the Celtics, are prepared.
"There are a lot of young [Sixers] but they are ready to play," said Brand, adding that he and Battie both addressed the importance of the game with their teammates. "I'm not sure what their mind-set is but they are ready to play. They are not afraid of the moment at all, which is good for our team."
Along with being the much younger and inexperienced team, the Sixers are also much healthier than the Celtics, who will again be without starting guard Avery Bradley (shoulder). Allen, 36, will likely start in his place. However, Allen is hampered by two bad ankles that have hurt him and the Celtics at the defensive end against Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner.
Boston small forward Paul Pierce, 34, though healthier than Allen, is also somewhat bothered by a sore left knee. The Celtics' leading scorer in the playoffs, Pierce knows what is at stake on Saturday.
"This is Game 7," Pierce told reporters in Boston on Friday. "For us to advance we've got to give it all and give everything from everybody. Whoever steps out on that court understands that this is it. This could be the season. That's the way we have to play. We have to play like a desperate team regardless of whether we're home or not.
"The team that wants it the most is going to get it."
76ERS VS. HISTORY
Home teams are 87-22 (79.8 percent) all-time in Game 7.
The Celtics are 17-4 all-time at home, but lost their last such game in 2009 vs. Orlando; Boston has never lost consecutive Game 7s at home.
This is the seventh all-time Game 7 between these franchises (Boston leads, 4-2).
The Celtics are 20-7 all-time in Game 7, the best in NBA history among teams with at least eight Game 7 appearances. The 76ers are 5-6.
The 76ers are 1-5 all-time on the road. This is their first road Game 7 since 1986. SOURCE: ESPN.com
Contact staff writer John N. Mitchell at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @JmitchInquirer