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Since the days of Larry Bird, the Celtics have not had a 50-win season…that is until now. For the first time since 1991-92, the Celtics have reached the 50-win plateau and could reach 60 in the season’s final weeks.
To get to 50 wins, the Celtics had to fend off a pesky 76ers team 100-86. Sporting some nice vintage jerseys, the Celtics began the game on a 15-0 run. They relinquished that lead entirely when Philly battled back to tie the score at 45, but the Celtics pulled away in the second half to secure the victory.
Kevin Garnett led the Celtics with 26 points and 12 rebounds while going an impressive 11-14 from the field. His big man counterpart, Kenrick Perkins, had himself another great game. Perk didn’t record a double-double, but he came close to a triple-double with 7 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 blocks (to tie a career-high).
Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell mentioned on the pregame WEEI broadcast that the only achilles heel for the Celtics besides injuries could be a young, small Rajon Rondo battling a bigger, more experienced point guard. Against the 76ers, Rondo saw veteran Andre Miller (6’2″, 188), who is a tough defender and can be physical. Rondo held his own, going for 6 points, 7 rebounds, and 8 assists.
Philadelphia could very well be a first-round playoff opponent. As the seeding is right now, the 76ers are in the 7th spot, 3.5 games ahead of the 8th and final playoff spot held by Atlanta. The Celtics are sitting pretty in first. As you know, the 1st seed plays the 8th seed in the first round, and if Detroit overtakes Boston and the 76ers stand pat, this game could’ve been a first-round preview.
The Celts are off Tuesday and return home to look for their ninth-straight win Wednesday against the Sonics. It will be phenom Kevin Durant’s only trip to Boston this year. The game lost some of its allure as Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak have moved on to Cleveland, but it should still be entertaining.