By A. Sherrod Blakely
PHILADELPHIA For years, the Boston Celtics have usually been at their best when officials allow games to played with a high level of physicality.
Well, that's usually how it works.
But on Friday, the C's dropped their second straight, an 89-86 loss at Philadelphia.
There were several reasons for the loss, but one of the biggest had to be that the Sixers were the more physical team.
"I thought the game was called very physical," Rivers said. "They allowed you to be physical. I didn't think we handled it very well. I didn't think we played through contact very well at all tonight. I thought they were the more physical team."
And as Rivers knows, the more physical team usually emerges victorious when all is said and done.
"I knew they were the more athletic team," Rivers said. "But they can't be the more physical team as well."
Rivers explains late-game decision.
Leading by just three points, the Sixers called for an isolation play that involved Andre Iguodala who at the time was being guarded by Sasha Pavlovic.
Iguodala drove into the lane and scooped in a shot past Pavlovic to secure the victory.
The fact that Iguodala was in an iso-situation wasn't that surprising.
Being defended by Sasha Pavlovic, now that was unexpected.
C's coach Doc Rivers would have probably used Paul Pierce in that situation, but Pierce was saddled with five personal fouls.
"Paul had the fouls. We didn't want to risk that," Rivers said. "The only thing we said out of time-out, is he has to beat you with his left. We allowed him to get to his right hand. He made a tough shot. But going right, he can make that shot. Going left I'll take my chances."
The Sixers have lost two of three this season to the Celtics, but all three games have been relatively close.
In their first two meetings - both won by Boston - the victories were by a total of just five points.
With all three games being decided in the final minutes, there's a school of thought out there that nobody wants to see the Sixers in the playoffs.
"Eveybody wants to run into everybody in the playoffs, really," Rivers said. "Hear that all the time. It's usually the ninth team. Nobody wants to play us. Actually, they really did. They didn't want to play the eighth team. I don't think anybody cares who they play, I know we don't. I can tell you that. At the end of the day, we just have to play."