Celtics' experience trumps 76ers' youth in crunch time


Celtics' experience trumps 76ers' youth in crunch time

BOSTON When it comes to playoff experience, it has a way of popping up when you least expect it.

That certainly was the case in Boston's 92-91 Game 1 win over Philadelphia, a game in which the Celtics' edge in veteran savvy appeared to play out in the pivotal fourth quarter.

A lay-up by Kevin Garnett with 2:52 to play gave the Celtics an 85-84 lead. They would maintain that lead for the rest of the game, the longest stretch of the night in which the C's were ahead.

Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala said afterward that the loss was "a little bit frustrating" when you consider that for most of the night, the Sixers were in control.

Despite trailing most of the night, C's coach Doc Rivers never sensed there was any panic or fear in his team that they couldn't come back and at the very least, give themselves a chance to win.

"It's funny, when we cut the lead the first time and then they pumped it back up to seven, nine, I'm not sure what it was, I didn't feel bad about the game," Rivers said. "I didn't know if we were going to win or lose; I did feel like mentally our guys were still very much in the game. And, to me, that's a good sign. That doesn't mean you're going to win it, but that means you're going to stay in it and you're going to keep playing the right way."

The Sixers' inability to close out the game down the stretch can be attributed to many things, with the experience gap between the two teams near the top of that list.

"We have to grow from these situations," Iguodala said. "We have a lot of young guys who play a lot of minutes for us. So, end of games, end of halves, those situations and scenarios you can only learn in the situations in the playoffs."

For Boston, Saturday's win was like a refresher course in getting it done in the clutch 101.

It just seemed that when the game was anyone's for the taking, Boston made all the right moves whether it was Rondo drilling a go-ahead jumper, to the C's getting the ball deep into the post to Kevin Garnett, or how they were able to run out the clock at the very end as Rajon Rondo out-ran Evan Turner.

"Experience showed a little bit, especially showed a little bit, especially with the plays they made," Iguodala said. "They knew exactly what they were going to get into and execute it. When we had our two minutes where we really didn't get anything good at the basket, that showed we were trying to figure out what we were going to do. By the time we figured it out, there was five or six seconds on the shot clock and we'd get up a bad shot. But they executed, so in that area we can learn from."

Blakely: Celtics trying to get No. 7 pick to trade to Knicks

Blakely: Celtics trying to get No. 7 pick to trade to Knicks

With the Knicks and Celtics having yet to find common ground on a trade for Kristaps Porzingis, it appears the C’s are trying to add to their stable of draft picks in order to facilitate an agreement. 

ESPN’s Ian Begley reported Thursday afternoon that Boston was offering a pick it had yet to acquire, with CSNNE’s A. Sherrod Blakely following up that it’s the seventh overall pick. The C’s already have the third overall pick. 

The NBA draft begins Thursday at 7 p.m.

Reports: Celtics engaged on Porzinigis trade talks but asking price is 'massive'

Reports: Celtics engaged on Porzinigis trade talks but asking price is 'massive'

In the hours leading up to the draft, the Knicks continue to talk to teams -- including the Celtics -- about a trade for Kristaps Porzingis but are seeking a "massive" return, according to multiple reports. 

RELATED: Would this monster haul land Porzingis?

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo's The Vertical reports that the Celtics are among several teams so far unwilling to meet the Knicks' price.

Knicks president Phil Jackson is said to covet Kansas forward Josh Jackson in the draft, who many have speculated the Celtics could take with the No. 3 pick. CSN Celtics Insider Sherrod Blakely, on the Toucher and Rich this morning, proposed a potential C's package of tonight's No. 3 pick, next year's Brooklyn pick, Jae Crowder and Jaylen Brown as a potential haul for Porzingis. 

Marc Stein of ESPN reports the Celtics "remain in pursuit."

But Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe and Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald are skeptical anything will get done:

Frank Isola of The New York Daily News says it's "the moon and two Brooklyn picks," i.e. the haul Blakely proposed - this year's No. 3 and the 2018 first-round pick from the Nets that the Celtics own from the Paul Pierce-Kevin Garnett deal, Brown and Crowder. Also, the Celtics taking on the remaining two years (at more than $18 million per) of Joakim Noah's contract from the Knicks could factor into the deal.