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It wasn’t exactly a good day for the Celtics. They lost their second game in a row, this time to the 76ers in Philly, 89-86. Boston is only half a game above Chicago in the standings, but has clinched some playoff spot (along with the Bulls, Heat and Spurs); Chicago is the only team to clinch a division so far. Minnesota and Sacramento are out.
Philly opened the scoring 1:36 into the game, but it was very close for a while. Until 5:14 left in the 1st, no team led by more than two, but Andre Iguodala’s three put Philly up four. Philadelphia opened up the lead to as many as eight after a 1:37 scoreless streak for both teams, but Boston clawed their way to only a three-point hole by quarter’s end.
The 76ers slipped a tad out of the gate, but quickly put the lead back up to seven, and then eight with 6:40 remaining in the half. And nine with 5:22 left. But Boston, not to be deterred just yet, cut the lead to 43-41 with 2:50 left, and after some back-and-forth, Philadelphia settled their lead at 49-45 at the half.
As is sadly the case too often, Boston couldn’t keep their play going, and Philadelphia acquired their first double-digit lead 4:51 into the 3rd. Boston halved the deficit, and finally managed to tie the game at 66 with 2:44 left in the frame, but Philly held them off, and reopened a four-point lead heading into the last quarter.
Boston’s six-point run shortly into the quarter, coupled with a 3:59 scoreless streak for the Sixers, gave Boston their first lead since 10-9. But some quick back-and-forth firmly put the game in Philadelphia’s hands. Towards the end, Boston had a streak of 6:20 without a field goal, with only three free throws in the middle. That complete lack of a finish gave the Sixers the opportunity they needed to pick up the win.
The big man scored 16, but more importantly pulled down a muscular 15 rebounds, four on the offensive end. Way to keep Boston in it.
In 19:39, Sasha had just two point, two rebounds, two assists, and while we’re at it, two fouls. For that kind of time, he had an extremely flat stat line.