Sixers getting greedy heading into Game 7


Sixers getting greedy heading into Game 7

BOSTON When this Boston-Philadelphia playoff series began, there was a sense that a good showing by the Sixers would be enough to appease them.

Not anymore.

"I want more," said Sixers coach Doug Collins. "We're going to be greedy, and we want more."

Indeed, the Sixers will have that opportunity on Saturday in a winner-moves-on battle with the Boston Celtics.

It's pretty simple. You win, and you're off to the Eastern Conference finals. You lose, and you've got an entire summer to think about why you're on some balmy island instead of still ballin'.

"That's all we wanted was to give ourselves a chance to go into Boston and see what happens on Saturday in Game 7," Collins said.

Well aware that youth has served him well thus far in this series, it doesn't do him much good in a Game 7 type situation, something that most of his players have never experienced.

Collins has, and rather than simply share that experience orally, he's taken to providing clips from the last time these two teams met in a Game 7 -- 1982.

That series, just like this one, ended in Boston.

But it wasn't the home team coming out on top, as the Celtics lost, 120-106.

"I think me and (former Celtic Tony) Battie were the only ones born then," said Sixers forward Elton Brand. "They were like, 'What's going on? They have ghosts and sheets behind the bench?' They didn't know what was going on."

But in that series, the Sixers had a 3-1 series lead before dropping two straight to the Celtics which forced a series-deciding Game 7.

Collins is wise enough to know that what happened in 1982 won't have any tangible bearing on what happens on Saturday.

But to have a team with so little experience in Game 7s and facing a team like the Celtics who are full of veterans who have been in -- and survived -- in these kind of situations, he knows he must do all he can to try and squash whatever nerves and jitters may come about because of this moment.

"One thing as a coach I think hou have to do, especially with a young team, is you have to try to continually make them feel confident and understand that everything is going to be okay if we just keep working," Collins said. "That's what I've really tried to do with this team and they've grown. They've done a really good job with that."

And now they're on the verge of doing what so few envisioned they could accomplish this season -- advance to the Eastern Conference finals.

Although a loss at this point would still make this a successful season considering how far they have come in such a short period of time, there's no question the Sixers' mindset right now is on one thing and one thing only - win one more game.

"It's going to be tough," Brand said. "We know we have to battle, but we're going to have to try and find a way."

Added Collins: "I don't want to go into that (Game Seven) with, 'no matter what happens, everything's okay.' I want to go in with the idea, 'Let's see what we can do. Let's see if we can go get us a win.'"

WATCH: Celtics vs. Kings

WATCH: Celtics vs. Kings

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Celtics-Kings preview: Watch out for Cousins’ supporting cast

Celtics-Kings preview: Watch out for Cousins’ supporting cast

BOSTON –  There is no mistaking DeMarcus Cousins is priority No. 1 when it comes to beating the Sacramento Kings.
But dealing with elite individual players hasn’t been a huge problem for the Celtics.
It’s their supporting cast that are usually the game’s biggest difference-makers and where the Celtics have faltered.
Limiting Sacramento’s role players will be key to the Celtics (10-8) getting back on a winning track after losing 121-114 at home to the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday.
Going into that game, all eyes were on Andre Drummond who has emerged as one of the league’s premier centers. And the former UConn product didn’t disappoint as he scored 25 points to go with 17 rebounds. 
But Drummond’s play didn’t decide the game’s outcome.
It was the dribble-drive penetration of Ish Smith (19 points, eight rebounds, eight assists), the red-hot shooting of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (25 points) and the inside-outside work of Jon Leuer (12 points, seven rebounds) that ultimately sealed the Celtics’ fate. 
The Kings (7-11) have a number of players that, in addition to Cousins, can be problematic for the Celtics if they are not careful.
Rudy Gay, whose name will continue to be thrown about as potentially being traded, has put up borderline All-Star numbers for most of his career.
This season, the 10-year veteran is averaging 19.6 points, 3.1 assists and 6.3 rebounds per game from the wing-forward position.
Darren Collison is averaging 12.9 points per game along with 4.9 assists from the point guard position. While he’s not known as a great shooter (he’s shooting 34.8 percent on 3s this season), his speed and ability to get into the paint is something the Celtics have to limit.
The bottom line is Boston’s defense has to do a better job at not only accounting for the King’s main star, but also the talent around him.
“There’s a reason why guys are in the NBA,” Boston’s Amir Johnson told recently. “You know everybody in this league can play and if you’re not careful, they can play well against you and your team. We just have to do a better job defensively against everyone, really.”
And part of that starts with having the right attitude.
“We have to get a little more nastier on the defensive end and not let a team come in and get comfortable,” said Boston’s Jae Crowder. “It’s not been an ongoing thing. It happened [against Detroit] and it happened in the Denver game; a couple games. For the most part we’ve been trying to impose our will first.”