Live Blog: Celtics at 76ers

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November 3, 2009

Live Blog: Celtics at 76ers10:51 p.m.: Well Celtics fans, it's been pretty easy thus far but I have  a cautionary tale to tell.

Last season, when Boston streaked to a 27-2 start, a few colleagues and I were having a talk outside the Celts' locker room, projecting their record.

Of the four of us, three said Boston would break the 1996 Chicago Bulls' record of 72 wins. One thought they would tie it (I won't say who).

We all know what happened after that, so try to eye this 5-0 start, as dominant as it has been, with a bit of trepidation. It will feel better in the end.

That does it for tonight. See you tomorrow when Boston is in Minnesota to take on many of its old friends. I'll have all the action for you right here.

Final, Celtics, 105-74: Another night, another demolition by the C's, and this one can again be tied to the play of the boys off the bench.

Boston's reserves flat-out dominated tonight, outscoring Philly's bench 62-23. The backups buried 13-of-16 3-pointers, compared to a 1-of-4 showing for the starters.

The C's are now 5-0 for the 10th time in franchise history.

It's a quick turnaround as Boston travels to Minnesota for a Wednesday night matchup. It'll be the second back-to-back for the Celts but their first all on the road, so we'll have to see if they can keep up this dominance on tired legs.

Check back for more post-game analysis and a feature on the Celtics' long-range game.

Fourth quarter, 2:56, Celtics 100-66: And Brian Scalabrine is on the board, getting Boston to the century mark with his first hoop of the season.

Fourth quarter, 5:29, Celtics 92-59: When Shelden Williams is hitting fallaways you know your goose is cooked.

The current score is the same as the final against Charlotte on Wednesday.

Oh, and there is a Brian Scalabrine sighting. Scalabrine will be making his season debut.

Fourth quarter, 6:17, 87-59: I meant to mention this before but forgot. With this game nearly out of reach I thought it would be a good time to tell it.

After Sunday's win over New Orleans, a crowd of maybe a dozen reporters gathered around the locker of Rasheed Wallace, who was towering above them watching Game 4 of the World Series.

Wallace, a Philly native, made reporters wait for several minutes before an inning ended, then turned and said, "OK," to signal he was ready to answer questions.

It was rather comical watching him stress over every pitch.

On cue, Wallace buries another 3-pointer and it's a game-high 31-point lead for the C's.

Fourth quarter, 8:25, Celtics 79-58: A statistical note to show just how dominant, and consistent, the Celtics' defense has been this year:

Boston opponents have been held under 20 points in 11 of the last 15 quarters. Philly has just four in the first few minutes of this one so that stat may soon look a bit better.

Fourth quarter, 9:01, Celtics 77-56: Rasheed Wallace has been huge. He just made his fifth 3-pointer and now has 17 points in 17 minutes off the bench.

Boston's 21-point lead is a game-high.

End of third quarter, Celtics 69-54: The last 4.5 seconds of the third quarter took longer to play out than Amadeus.

We can thank Rasheed Wallace and Shelden Williams for that. After Wallace jawed for about 10 minutes with officials, picking up his first 'T' in the process, Williams fouled Andre Iguodala with 0.5 seconds on the clock.

Iguodala made 1-of-2 and the Celts, despite 15 turnovers and an 8-of-12 mark from the line, are in great shape.

One reason is the difference in 3-point shooting. Boston has buried 7-of-12 while Philadelphia has missed all 11 of its attempts.

Third quarter, 4.5 seconds, Celtics 67-53: Finally!!! Rasheed Wallace has picked up his first technical as a Celtic.

His hometown crowd loved it, too.

Third quarter, 1:45, Celtics 67-51: After another turnover by the Celtics — their 15th — and a foul by Rajon Rondo, we were just treated to a great shot of Doc Rivers just rubbing his eyes, no doubt frustrated by his team's play over the past few minutes.

Just as he did in the first half, Rasheed Wallace calms things down with a 3-pointer and the lead is back up to 17.

Wallace is 4-of-5 from 3-point range and is one of the few Celtics without a turnover.

Third quarter, 5:52, Celtics 60-46: A pair of sloppy possessions and Doc Rivers calls an immediate timeout, no doubt wanting to keep the Sixers from getting back in this thing.

Kevin Garnett first turned the ball over on a travel from beyond the 3-point line and then another giveaway leads to an easy dunk for Louis Williams. Before all of that, Rajon Rondo chucked up a left-handed runner in the lane that had no chance.

It is a 6-0 run overall for Philly.

Third quarter, 6:52, Celtics 60-40: Ray Allen and Paul Pierce are a combined 5-for-5 from the field this quarter and the Celtics lead keeps growing.

You may have just heard what I did, but Rajon Rondo just attempted — and made — his first free throw attempt this season.

Third quarter, 9:43, Celtics 51-36: Paul Pierce scores on a sweeping lefthanded layup and the Celts are dominating the early-going here in the third.

Pierce then buries a 3-pointer and it's a 7-0 run to begin the quarter.

Remember, aside from Sunday against New Orleans, Boston has dominated the third, often rendering the fourth garbage time.

On another note, am I late picking up on the Eddie Jordan-Sinbad comparisions? A quick "Google" search suggest I am, but I had to mention the crazy resemblance.

Halftime, Celtics 44-36: Philadelphia puts together a nice little run to finish the half and make it a bit tighter heading into the locker room.

Following Rajon Rondo's steal and dunk, the Sixers scored six straight points.

Still, they became the fourth consecutive Boston opponent to be held to less than 40 points in the first half.

Some other first-half numbers to chew on:

–The Celtics have seven steals, three by Rondo.

–Philly is 0-for-6 from 3-point range after going 3-for-8 in a 141-point game in their last outing. Safe to say they like to get to the hoop.

–Boston's bench has outscored the hosts' 23-8.

On a side note — and I haven't seen any Sixers home games until tonight — it is nice to see the old logo there. Although many locals hated the guys who sported it back in the day, it is classy.

Off for a coffee. Will be back for the second half action.

Second quarter, 2:37, Celtics 39-28: What a wild sequence before the commercial break there.

Credit Paul Pierce with a great play to deflect a Sixers' pass and save the ball from going out.

The play led to a Celtics break but Rajon Rondo missed a layup, Kevin Garnett had a shot blocked and Philly came away with the ball.

But before it completely became a lost cause Willie Green traveled and Pierce finally made the Sixers pay with a hoop to give Boston its largest lead.

Second quarter, 3:42, Celtics 36-28: The starters are beginning to trickle back in as both teams make a push to close the half.

Kevin Garnett just threw a pass off Rajon Rondo's foot. Usually the Celts like the passes going the other way.

Garnett has just two points and three turnovers in 11-plus minutes.

Second quarter, 7:39, 31-21: Rasheed Wallace makes a 3-pointer on a pick-and-roll with Ray Allen and the Celtics are on fire.

Overall, it is a 27-9 run. In some ways this is reminiscent of the opener a week ago against the Cavaliers. While Boston's bench has been productive all season, it rescued the starters in that one and has done the same here.

Wallace and Eddie House have a combined 17 points. Celtics starters have a combined 12.

Second quarter, 10:10, Celtics 25-17: With back-to-back 3-pointers by Rasheed Wallace and Eddie House, the Celtics ran their string of consecutive made shots to nine.

There's that number again.

The streak was snapped when Shelden Williams missed a jumper but the bench has again provided a huge lift early. Wallace, House and Marquis Daniels have made all six of their shots.

End of first quarter, 19-17: Boston closes the quarter on a 15-5 run, punctuated by Rajon Rondo's basket at the buzzer.

After starting 2-for-13, the Celtics made seven straight shots and do what Doc Rivers preached before the game: getting back on the run-and-gun Sixers.

Thaddeus Young, by the way, took nine shots in the first quarter. Nine shots (think the principal in Ferris Bueller). Young is the Sixers' fourth-leading scorer.

First quarter, 2:12, Sixers 15-10: It was a stretch of five minutes, 37 seconds that the Celtics went without scoring.

Rajon Rondo broke the slide with an 18-footer but Kendrick Perkins picked up his second foul on the other end of the floor and Doc Rivers is forced to go to the bench.

First quarter, 4:40, Sixers 12-4: This is among the uglier stretches on the young season for the Celtics, who can't buy a hoop right now.

Since Kendrick Perkins scored 11 seconds in, Boston has missed 11-of-12 shots. After Paul Pierce had a beautiful strip in traffic he went the other way with Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo against two Sixers defenders.

Nobody ran toward the hoop and Pierce hit Allen for a long 2-point try, which clanged off the iron and went out of bounds.

Moments earlier, Louis Williams showed his quickness, blowing by three Celtic defenders for his first basket. It is an 8-0 run for Philly.

First quarter, 6:15, Sixers 6-4: Just an update on the offensive woes early on.

The Sixers are now 1-for-9 from the floor with a turnover. The C's are not much better, going 2-for-9 with three giveaways.

Entering the game Boston had held opponents to 38.1 percent from the floor, the second-lowest mark in the league.

First quarter, 9:00: 4-4: Before Samuel Dalembert just banked in a hook shot, the teams had combined to miss eight straight shots after Kendrick Perkins opened the scoring.

The Sixers were 0-for-6 to that point. That's the Celtics' kind of game.

7:08 p.m.: Doc Rivers just gave a little insight into what his team will need to do to be successful against the Sixers tonight.

"They attack, they are a great rebounding team," Rivers said. "It's one of those games we have to get back and force them to play against our halfcourt defense," Rivers said.

6:35 p.m.: Starting lineups are in at the Wachovia Center in Philadelphia and there are no surprises.

Boston will go with the usual five of Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins.

For the Sixers, it's Louis Williams and Andre Iguodala at guard. Thaddeus Young and Elton Brand are the forwards and Samuel Dalembert is underneath.

The Rondo-Williams matchup is one to watch, pitting a pair of skinny, 6-foot-1, 23-year-old point guards who play very different styles against one another. We'll keep an eye on that one.

Tip is set for just after 7:00. Stick around.

11:45 a.m.: Coming off a dominant homestand, the Celtics are in Philadelphia for a matchup of Atlantic Division rivals. I'll have all the action right here so check back before the tip and follow along.

The only 4-0 team in the league, Boston is entering the middle portion of a stretch of eight games in 12 nights to start the season. The C's have looked unbothered by the busy slate and can now put aside any lingering issues surrounding point guard Rajon Rondo and his contract negotiations with the team.

Rondo inked a five-year, $55 million extension early Monday just before a deadline which, if missed, would have made him a restricted free agent in the offseason. The 23-year-old has played as if he's worth the money as he leads the NBA with 47 assists. Rondo has had double digits in assists in each game this season including 10 and three steals in Sunday's 97-87 win over New Orleans.

According to reports, the NBA is looking into Rondo's tiff with Hornets guard Chris Paul from Sunday. The two were whistled for double technicals in the second quarter and jawed at one another after the game.

Boston is trying to go 5-0 for the 10th time in franchise history. The C's won the NBA title after four of those nine previous 5-0 starts.

The Sixers, meanwhile, are coming off a wild 141-127 overtime win against New York. Philadelphia blew a 23-point lead before dominating the extra session.

Andre Iguodala narrowly missed a triple-double with 32 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists in the win.

The Celts have the look of a team that may run and hide in the Atlantic. Let's see if their old rivals can give them a test in Boston's first division game of the season.

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