Celtics-Sixers preview: A formula for success

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Celtics-Sixers preview: A formula for success

PHILADELPHIA Sixers head coach Doug Collins has a plan against the Boston Celtics that like every game he coaches, is subject to change.

But he knows all too well that keeping the Celtics under 45 percent shooting and 100 points scored, usually adds up to a formula for success against the Celtics.

"That's sort of their benchmarks," said Collins after Philadelphia knocked off the Celtics 95-94 in overtime on Friday.

Boston is 6-3 this season when they score 100 or more points. And when they shoot 45 percent or better from the field, the C's are 7-5 which includes victories in their last three games under such conditions.

While the Celtics don't necessarily focus on those two particular stats, they know achieving either bodes well for their chances of winning especially against a team like the Sixers who they will hosttonightin Boston.

"It's probably going to be a great tooth-and-nail type of fight," said Boston's Paul Pierce. "It will also probably be even lower scoring (tonight) because we know everything they're going to do and they know everything we're going to do, so it will be an even tougher game (tonight)."

Here are some of the keys totonight's game as the Celtics need a win to avoid losing the head-to-head series with Philadelphia this season.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Boston has made a point of getting Kevin Garnett the ball early and often in the post the last two games, which has helped him get into an early groove and the C's get off to a solid start.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Paul Pierce vs Evan Turner: Both carried their respective teams for long stretcheson Friday nightwith Pierce leading the C's with a game-high 27 points and Turner tallying a double-double with 26 points and 10 rebounds which included the game-winning basket.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Jason Terry had his worst shooting game in a Celtic uniform on Friday, tallying just four points while missing 11 of his 12 shots from the field. He promises to be better - a lot better -tonight.

STAT TO TRACK: The Celtics' rebounding numbers place them at the bottom of the NBA standings this year, but there has been a noticeable improvement lately. Boston came into Friday's game against Philadelphia being out-rebounded by 4.2 boards per game. In the C's last five games, they have edged opponents on the boards by 0.6 per game. Keeping that margin relatively close will once again be a factor in Boston's chances to win tonight.

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'capable of more' vs. lefties

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Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 'capable of more' vs. lefties

CHICAGO -- Quotes, Notes and Stars from the Red Sox' 4-1 loss to Chicago:

 

QUOTES:

"He's rarely in the middle of the plate. He pitches to the edge very effectively. He's got a number of different looks he can give you.'' - John Farrell on White Sox starter Jose Quintana.

"We have such a heavily righthand-hitting lineup, you would think that our guys would be able to handle the off-side pitching coming at them. . . We're capable of more.'' - Farrell on the Sox 0-3 record against lefty starters.

"He's done everything that we could have asked, to get deep into games and low run situations -- and not just this year. This goes back to when he was in the rotation last year.'' - Farrell on tough-luck loser Steven Wright.

"That's what I'm working for every time.'' - Carson Smith on his scoreless inning in his Red Sox debut.

"It is what it is. Keep working and try to be ready on whatever opportunities come. That's all I can say about that.'' - Chris Young, on the infrequency of lefty starters.

"A little frustrated with the walks. I gave them the second run with the walks. When I'm out there throwing 20 pitches an inning, it's hard to get into a rhythm.'' - Steven Wright.

 

NOTES

* The Red Sox have faced three lefty starters this season and are 0-3. They've managed two runs in 23 innings and hit just .108 (8-for-74) against them.

* When the opposition scores first, the Red Sox are 5-6 this season.

* Jackie Bradley Jr. extended his hitting streak to nine games with a sixth-inning single.

* Dating back to last season, Steven Wright hasn't allowed more than two earned runs in his last nine starts.

* Hanley Ramirez's homer in the fifth was his first since April 6, covering 96 at-bats.

 

STARS

1) Jose Quintana

Chicago's starter was brilliant, allowing a single run in eight innings on just four hits without issuing a walk.

2) Jose Abreu

The White Sox first baseman drove in three of the four White Sox runs with a first-inning triple and a two-run double in the eighth.

3) Steven Wright

Once again, the knuckballer got almost no run support and was stuck with the loss despite allowing just two runs in six innings.