Sixers feeling confident heading back to Philadelphia

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Sixers feeling confident heading back to Philadelphia

BOSTON -- After a one-point loss to the Boston Celtics in the opening game of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the Philadelphia 76ers were determined to make the necessary adjustments to change the outcome in Game 2.

The end result was another one-point win, this time in the Sixers favor, which left the Celtics looking to do the same as they prepare for Game 3.

"It's all about execution," Elton Brand said following Philadelphia's 82-81 win. "Because the games come so fast, you don't get a lot of practice time. But we watched tons of film and our lack of execution was why we lost Game 1."

On Monday night at TD Garden, the 76ers limited the Celtics to just 13 points in the second quarter and 11 in the third. They held Rajon Rondo, who recorded a triple-double with 13 points, 17 assists, and 12 rebounds in Game 1, to 8 points, 13 dimes, and 7 boards. They also limited Kevin Garnett to 15 points, 14 less than on Saturday.

I think we saw the same type of game last game," said Evan Turner. "We spoke on our day off and we just all pulled together and believed we could win the game, and thats what really happened.

The Game 2 victory gave the 76ers a change in momentum as they return to Philadelphia for Games 3 and 4 on Wednesday and Friday. After fending off the Garden crowd, they look forward to their own fans' support in the next two contests.

Its going to be really crazy," said Turner. "Its going to be a great game. Our fans are definitely excited and it's going to be great to be in front of them to compete.

Just as the Sixers did after Game 1, the Celtics will watch film and make adjustments. The next task for the 76ers will be holding off the C's fight in Game 3.

"Our young guys just keep growin and theyre really becoming men. Im so proud of them," said head coach Doug Collins. "Doc Rivers arguably the best coach in the NBA, and for our guys to just scrap through a game tonight. We just found a way. Again I have to tell you all season long we couldnt win these games and now our guys are believing they can do it, and it is pretty special to watch.

LeBron James hasn't always been dominant the game after a bad performance

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LeBron James hasn't always been dominant the game after a bad performance

Conventional wisdom has been spreading almost from the moment Avery Bradley's shot (finally) dropped through the cylinder in the closing seconds Sunday night, and it goes something like this:

LeBron James was so bad in Game 3 that, determined to exact revenge, he's going to come out like a force of nature and obliterate the Celtics in Game 4.

Makes sense. But, you know, LeBron has had other playoff games in which he's scored fewer than 12 points. He's always been good the next time out -- certainly better than >12 points -- but nothing sweeping or historic:

And amazingly enough, his teams lost two of those three games.

So if you were thinking the Celtics' Game 3 triumph virtually guaranteed a Cavalier victory and a dominant LeBron James performance in Game 4 . . . well, maybe not.

Amir Johnson a game-time decision for Game 4 with shoulder injury

Amir Johnson a game-time decision for Game 4 with shoulder injury


CLEVELAND – Brad Stevens won’t know until shortly before tip-off tonight if he will have to make another lineup change.
 
Amir Johnson, whose right shoulder was injured in the Celtics' 111-108 Game 3 win on Sunday, is questionable for tonight’s Game 4.
 
“It’s better for sure,” Johnson told CSN this morning. “Yesterday, it was hard to lift. Today, I can move it all around. In shoot-around, I’m going to get a couple shots, see how it feels and go from there.
 
He added, “it’s definitely going to be a game-time decision. I’m going to go and shoot around, just to get a feel. And then for the game-time, I’ll shoot around some more, see how it feels and take it from there.”
 
Healthy or not, Johnson being with the starting group is far from a given.
 
The 6-foot-9 veteran has consistently been the first starter subbed out and usually winds up playing the fewest minutes.
 
In Game 3, two of his backups – Kelly Olynyk (15 points) and Jonas Jerebko (10 points) – shined brightly.
 
Here are some other highlights from the Celtics’ morning shoot-around.
 
THOMAS UPDATE: Isaiah Thomas met with a hip specialist on Monday, according to Stevens. “Still collecting information,” said Stevens, adding, “We’ll wait and see or we’ll discuss second, and third, and fourth, and fifth opinions.”

Thomas injured his right hip March 15 and later re-aggravated it in the first half of the Game 2 loss Friday. Less than 24 hours later, he was deemed out for the remainder of the playoffs.
 
He was replaced by Marcus Smart in the starting lineup and Smart responded with a career-high 27 points in Game 3, which included seven made 3’s which is a career-best mark as well.
 
BOUNCE-BACK CELTICS: The Celtics winning Game 3 sent shockwaves throughout the league, especially coming on the heels of a 44-point home court drubbing at the hands of the Cavs. “If you’re in sports long enough you’re going to have clunkers,” Stevens said. “You’re going to have games that don’t go your way. And our guys took seriously the idea of responding and just playing the next possession as well as they could.”
 
ROZIER HOMECOMING: The second-year guard grew up in nearby Youngstown, Ohio (75 miles southeast of Cleveland), so you can expect he’ll have a decent contingent of fans at tonight's game.
 
While he’s all-in for the Celtics, the same is not true of his friends and some family members.
 
“My family does a good job of staying on my side except for my one younger cousin,” Rozier said. “She loves LeBron.”