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Sixers No Contest for Celtics

Rajon Rondo (Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

Cue the Sergio Leone score for this one.

The good: the Celtics move to 5-0 on the season, breezing to a 105-74 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night at the Wachovia Center.

The bad: two of the Big Three looked lost. Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen shot a combined  3-15, missed three of five free throws, and turned the ball over seven times.

The ugly: the 76ers failed to score their namesake. Philly shot a dismal 29-80 from the field (36.2%), including 1-16 from behind the arc. Once again, that’s 16 attempted three pointers, resulting in a grand total of three points.

Rasheed Wallace, playing the role of Clint Eastwood, strode into his hometown and dropped 20 points in 23 minutes off the bench to lead the way for the Celtics. The Philly native drained 6-8 from deep and even pulled down six rebounds.

Sheed provided the only real entertainment in a contest that was never a contest. The Celtics came out shooting blanks, at one point logging a 2-13 line late in the first. Philly was up at that point, boasting a 3-12 FGM/A line.

The Celtics’ bench took control late in the opening quarter and into the second, pacing Boston to a 44-36 halftime lead. The difference in play was staggering. The Celtics’ starting five shot 8-24 (33%) for the half. The bench went 9-14 (64%).

It was more of the same in the second half: the Celtics’ starting five looking flat; Sheed knocking down threes to help the bench dominate; and Philly playing like a team comprised of players pulled from the stands.

The Celtics’ starters (save a few minutes for Ray Allen) never sniffed the court in the fourth. Doc Rivers used his full 12-man active roster, and Lester Hudson, J.R. Giddens, and even the big red head, Brian Scalabrine, played the final five minutes. Philly had no answer for that powerful threesome, as the Green ended up scoring 36 points in the final quarter.

Boston is back at it Wednesday night in Minnesota.

Notes:

  • Glen who? Shelden Williams is making the most of his extended minutes with Big Baby out. Williams looked solid in 23 minutes, shooting 5-8 from the floor for 11 points and pulling down seven boards. Williams even outplayed starter Kendrick Perkins, who scored just three points with six rebounds and three turnovers in 20 forgettable minutes.
  • In five games, opposing teams have no answer for Rasheed Wallace. When Sheed sets the high screen and his defender steps out to help slow the progress of the ball carrier, Sheed is left wide open for the kickback three. This most basic of basketball plays will cause the opposition fits all season for two reasons: (1) Sheed is typically guarded by power forwards and centers who aren’t quick enough to recover; and (2) if defenders don’t help and stay home on Sheed (who sets a great screen), the ball carrier will have an open lane.
  • Elton Brand (six points, four rebounds in 27 minutes) makes $14.8 million. He has played in 37 games the past two seasons combined, and he’s currently doing a spot on impersonation of the Invisible Man in Philly.
  • Speaking of ridiculous salaries, the Cleveland Cavs are paying Shaq and Ilgauskas a combined $31.5 million this season. The two players are a combined 71 years old…and Z runs like it.
  • Tommy Heinsohn summed things up perfectly when he said the Sixers play “high school defense.”

About Sharkey

I was 11 years old when the ball scooted through Buckner's wickets, a moment that is laser-etched in my mind: In my living room, on the floor in front of the TV, ready to burst as the Sox needed just one more out, one more strike, to become World Series champs. Mets players sat with slumped shoulders and dejected looks in the dugout. Even the scoreboard operator recognized the game, and the series, was over, posting on the jumbotron: Congratulations to the Boston Red Sox, 1986 World Series Champions. "They did it!" I said, unable to contain myself. "The Sox won it all!" My father, sitting behind me on the couch with a furrowed brow, knew better. "It's not over yet." And so it was. Having watched the Sox, Celts, and Pats for the past three decades, I truly feel like I've seen it all. I hope to bring that type of perspective as I write about the three teams I love.

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