76ers go into Game 6 knowing changes are needed

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76ers go into Game 6 knowing changes are needed

BOSTON -- The Philadelphia 76ers know they have to win Game 6 on Wednesday to stay alive in the Eastern Conference Semifinals.

They also know their series against the Boston Celtics has been a roller coaster of runs and uncertainties, with neither team winning back-to-back games to this point.

After being put on the brink of elimination following the Celtics dominating 101-85 victory in Game 5, the 76ers are focused on righting their wrongs to force a seventh game.

We have to go out and compete, thats it, said Evan Turner. We beat them a couple times and just try to do that again.

The statement sounds simple, but how will the 76ers address the need to compete? After Game 5, they discussed some of the necessary changes for Game 6.

Play Four Quarters: The 76ers led, 50-47, at halftime before being outscored, 54-35, in the second half. Brandon Bass individually scored two more points in the third quarter (18) than the 76ers did as a whole (16).

They did a good job of finding a spot and our defense kept hurting us, said Andre Iguodala. We couldnt fix it. Offensively we just couldnt get a good rhythm going. They played a great game tonight.

Limit Turnovers: Head coach Doug Collins was unhappy with his teams 15 turnovers (the Celtics committed 10).

You cant make careless, one-handed passes against this team, Collins said. Theyre too good. Theyre quick. Their perimeter guys have great anticipation. Theyre physical, and we didnt do a good job with that. We did not meet the tenacity that they played with from the middle of the third quarter on.

Protect the Paint: The Celtics scored 44 points in the paint in Game 5, a significant jump from 26 in the 76ers Game 4 win. As a result, their bigs, Bass, Kevin Garnett, and Greg Stiemsma combined for 56 percent of their offense.

They got in the paint, they got a lot of easy baskets, said Lavoy Allen. Once we give up those easy baskets, they started hitting jump shots, they started getting a little groove going, and we couldnt stop them. Keeping them out of the paint, thats the most important.

Stay Focused: As Turner pointed out, the 76ers have beat the Celtics twice in the series and know how to defeat the veteran squad. The Celtics have the edge on experience, but the young Sixers group cant let them get inside their heads.

We dont use that as an excuse, Allen said of the Cs experience. They have who they have. It doesnt mean we should play the way we did tonight. We just played bad.

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

Bradley (Achilles) 'felt good' during return to Celtics lineup

WALTHAM, Mass. – As the final horn blew in Boston’s 108-98 win over Charlotte on Monday night, the game was a win-win kind of night for Avery Bradley.

The Celtics (26-15) continue rolling over opponents at the TD Garden, and he played a relatively pain-free 33 minutes in the win.

It was Bradley’s first game back after missing the previous four with a strained right Achilles injury.

And the fact that he was back on the practice floor on Tuesday (be it a light practice, mind you), bodes well for his injury being a thing of the past now.

“I felt good. It wasn’t sore at all in the game,” Bradley said. “I felt I was moving good. After the game I was a little sore and this morning, but otherwise I felt good.”

Despite Boston being 4-1 this season when Bradley doesn’t play, he has immense value to this Celtics team at both ends of the floor.

Offensively he has been Boston’s second-leading scorer most of this season and currently averages a career-high 17.7 points per game along with 6.9 rebounds which is also a career high.

And defensively, Bradley is coming off a season in which he was named to the NBA’s all-Defensive First Team for the first time.

Any questions or concerns about the Achilles affecting his play defensively were put to rest Monday night when he put the defensive clamps on Nicolas Batum who missed nine of his 11 shots from the field while primarily being guarded by Bradley.

Now his offense, that’s another story.

Bradley failed to reach double digits scoring for the first time this season as he missed seven of his nine shots on Monday to finish with just five points.

But part of that had to do with Bradley passing up shots he normally takes, as well as him missing some he normally knocks down.

Considering his lay-off and the rhythm his teammates have been in shooting the ball in his absence, Bradley wisely decided to get his defensive bearings on track and gradually bring his offensive game around. 

“I have to get my (shooting) rhythm back,” said Bradley who is making a career-best 40.9 percent of his 3-pointers this season. “I’m fine. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s game.”