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.

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

Thomas won’t play Friday night vs. Raptors

WALTHAM, Mass. – The Celtics are about to hit one of the toughest stretches of the season and they’ll have to do it for at least one more game without their leading scorer, Isaiah Thomas. 
 
Thomas, who suffered a right groin injury on Monday against the Houston Rockets, did not play on Wednesday against Orlando and said that he will not play in Friday night’s game against the Toronto Raptors. 
 
“It’s day to day. I want to play. I want to be out there but it’s the smart decision to hold out and wait until it’s 100 percent,” Thomas said during a Season of Giving event for children of the Military Friends Foundation held at the Celtics’ practice facility. “If it was a playoff game I would be out there for sure.”
 
However, after consulting with a number of medical personnel, Thomas decided the best thing for him and the Celtics was to sit out Friday’s game which, along with Wednesday in Orlando, will be the first two he has missed since the 2014-2015 season. 
 
Thomas said there’s no specific timetable for his return, but he said he is planning to travel with the team to Oklahoma City for their matchup against the Thunder on Sunday. 
 
“It’s eating me a live to sit, but I have to do what’s best for my body, I have to do what’s best for this team,” Thomas said. “I need to be 100 percent healthy to give this team what I can give them.”
 
The Celtics are hoping for similar success they had Wednesday in Orlando (a 117-87 victory) on Friday against Toronto.
 
“They played a hell of a game last night,” Thomas said. “They’ll be ready tomorrow.”
 
The fact that Thomas intends to travel with the team is a good sign that the groin injury isn’t too serious. 
 
If he doesn’t play at Oklahoma City, that likely means he’ll return to action on Wednesday at San Antonio. 
 
“I’m going to do what I can to get back out there on the court,” Thomas said. “I gotta be smart about this. I don’t want this to linger on this season.”
 
Replacing Smart in the lineup against Toronto will most likely be Marcus Smart. 
 
Smart, who has been a replacement starter at small forward and point guard this season, had 13 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals against the Magic.