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.'"

Former Celtics teammates praise Garnett's passion and intensity

Former Celtics teammates praise Garnett's passion and intensity

WALTHAM, Mass. – Like so many players who have spent part of their NBA journey having Kevin Garnett barking in their ear words of encouragement or just telling them to get the hell out his (bleepin’) way, you can count Avery Bradley among those who will miss the man affectionately known as ‘Big Ticket.’

Garnett recently announced his retirement after 21 NBA seasons, leaving behind a legacy that includes an NBA title won with the Boston Celtics in 2008.

Among the current Celtics, Bradley is the only current member of the team who played with Garnett in Boston.

When Bradley got the news about Garnett’s retirement, he said he sat down and wrote Garnett a letter.

“To let him know how much I appreciate him, how special he is to me,” said Bradley who added that his relationship with Garnett was impactful both on and off the court. “Kevin’s just an amazing person.”

Leon Powe, a member of the Celtics’ championship team in 2008 with Garnett, echoed similar praise about his former teammate.

“As a teammate, as a player, KG meant the world to me,” Powe told “Intensity … he brought everything you would want to the game, to the practice field, he was just non-stop energy.”

And when you saw it time after time after time with him, pretty soon it became contagious.

“The intensity just motivated every guy on the team, including me,” Powe said. “It made you want to go out and lay it out on the line for him and the team. You see how passionate he is. You see he’s one of the greats. And when you see one of the greats of the NBA going hard like that all the time, you’re like ‘Man, why can’t I do that? It trickled down to me and every young guy on the team.

Powe added, “He brought that every single day, night, morning, it didn’t matter. He brought that intensity. That’s all you could ask for.”

And Garnett’s impact was about more than changing a franchise’s fortunes in terms of wins and losses.

He also proved to be instrumental in helping re-shape the culture into one in which success was once again defined by winning at the highest levels.

“KG has had as big an impact as anybody I’ve been around in an organization,” said Danny Ainge, Boston’s president of basketball operations. “The thing that stands out the most to me about KG is his team-first mentality. He never wanted it to be about KG, individual success to trump team success. He lived that in his day-to-day practice. That’s something I’ll remember about him.”