The Celtics took a major step toward a fifth straight Atlantic Division title with a 103-79 cakewalk over the collapsing 76ers on Easter Sunday at TD Garden. Kevin Garnett led the way for the Celtics with 20 while Brandon Bass had 18 and Paul Pierce added 17. The Celtics improved to 32-24 and now have their biggest lead of the season in the division, as they lead by three games with just 10 remaining. Rajon Rondo had 15 assists while Avery Bradley chipped in with 18.
The Sixers entered the game leading the NBA by committing just 10.9 turnovers per game. The Celtics forced the Sixers into 11 in the first half alone. The Celtics were red-hot from the field, shooting 62 percent from the field and finishing up at 59 percent. They held Philadelphia to just 39 percent.
Since the Sixers beat the Celtics in Philadelphia on March 23, the two teams have headed in completely opposite directions. The Sixers have lost four straight and 6-of-8 while the Celtics have won 7-of-9 to turn a game and a half deficit in the Atlantic to a three-game lead with just 10 games left in the regular season. The Sixers (29-27), who led the Atlantic for nearly the entire first three months of the season, fell to eighth in the Eastern Conference, behind the Knicks and lead No. 9 Milwaukee by just one game.
Pierce scored 11 points in the opening quarter and took a 25-22 lead after 12 minutes. The Celtics then went on a 20-4 run to assume command of the game. The Sixers managed to cut the lead to 14 at the half, as Boston led, 50-36.
But the Celtics came out on fire in third quarter, scoring 29 points in the opening nine minutes of the period to take the heart out of the Sixers, who handed the Celtics their worst loss of the season, 103-71, on March 7 in Philadelphia. Rondo, who committed five turnovers in the first half, was a one-man wrecking crew for the Celtics in the third quarter. He had nine of his 15 assists in the period and made one of the more spectacular shots of the season, a turnaround fadeaway on the baseline as the shot clock was expiring to electrify the sellout Easter crowd.
The Sixers managed to cut the Celtics lead down to 16 twice but could get no closer than 88-72 with eight minutes left. Sasha Pavlovic hit a three with 6:50 left to expand the lead back to 19.
The Celtics headed out immediately after the game for Miami, where they play the Heat on Tuesday night. They return home to play the Hawks at TD Garden on Wednesday. For complete coverage from Paul Flannery and Mike Petraglia, visit the Celtics team page at weei.com/celtics and the Green Street blog.
In the latest edition of the "It Is What It Is" podcast, Chris Price and CSNNE's Mike Giardi take a look at the Patriots offseason on both sides of the ball, try and get a handle on which new guys will make an impact first, and whether or not the Patriots have altered their style when it comes to drafting and developing wide receivers.
Mike Florio joined the program to discuss the Jets decision to release Tim Tebow, he said the situation is as disaster all around for the Jets and that the problems begins with owner Woody Johnson. Mike also said that he was disappointed with the Pats moving back in the first round.
One of the hardest working men in the biz, Mike Petraglia aka "Trags", sits down with Butch Stearns live in Foxborough to help break down all the latest Pats moves. He discusses his reaction to the trade in Round 1 and the guys those picks produced. Also, the boys talk about the decent trade the Pats made in acquiring LeGarrette Blount from Tampa Bay for Jeff Demps and a 7th rounder.
We check in with Danny Ainge for our first talk to him since the Celtics season ended last weekend. We talk about the future of the team, KG, Pierce, Doc Rivers and more, as Danny directly answers the rumors being floated by ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.
Jackie Mac joins the show to discuss the trade rumors swirling around Paul Pierce, KG, Doc Rivers and the Celtics. She also discusses the future of the Celtics head coach.
Stephen A. joined the program to discuss the trade rumors he has reported regarding a possible trade including Doc Rivers and the Clippers. Stephen A. also told the guys that he has heard that Danny and Doc may be tiring of working together.
Joe Castiglione talked with John Lackey after he picked up the W against the Twins. Lackey threw seven innings, and retired the 1st twelve batters of the game.
Dave O'Brien talked to John Farrell before the end of the Twins series. The Sox skipper said that Big Papi's success is no surprise given his work ethic.
John Farrell postgame press conference
Dale and DJ roll on with their puck talk and chat some more about the goalie matchup in this series, as well as the lack of a quality power play for both of these teams. In fact, DJ says the Rangers are even worse on the PP than the B’s! The guys also get into the resurgence of Milan Lucic and his deceptive speed and grit. Dale and DJ talk about the similar styles of play for these teams and look forward to Game 2.
Dale and DJ get into the two coaches and their polar opposite styles and demeanor. Both teams play a similar style, but the coaches certainly convey their messages in a different way. Dale isn't buying the Tortorella hype and thinks he's a little overrated. DJ thinks he's a good coach, but isn't a fan of anti-media stance. The guys also talk about Jagr and how he has not lived up to the hype. They weren't expecting him to light it up or be the savior, but DJ says he wasn't prepared for just how slow the aging veteran is. Another big topic for B's fans this season is the play of Tyler Seguin and why he has yet to become the superstar everyone anticipates he will be. This leads to Claude Julien's style and if he does actually have something against the younger players. That Iginla trade shows its ugly head again as well.
WEEI.com's DJ Bean joins Dale in studio for Sports Sunday to discuss the Bruins playoff run. Game 2 is later today and the guys discuss the results of the first game of the series. They get into the construction of the lines for the B's and if they would make any changes. DJ has a few ideas for the lines today. The boys also discuss the two goalies - Tuukka vs Henrik Lundqvist and wonder why people automatically think the Rangers have the edge at goalie. Finally, they get into the legacy and the decisions of Claude Julien and Peter Chiarelli.
Shawn joined the program to discuss another overtime win for the Bruins. When asked about Game 7 against Toronto, Thornton said that he would like to keep his specific comments in the dressing room private, but acknowledged that he encouraged Tyler Seguin to up his play and it paid off in overtime.
Barry joined the guys to help breakdown the Bruins overtime win last night in game one. Barry said that he has rarely seen a team dominate as much as the Bruins yet be forced to an overtime.
Boomer joined the program to discuss the tough loss for his beloved Rangers. Boomer told the guys that Lundqvist will be better in game two and predicted a seven game series.
Bruins rookie defenseman Matt Bartkowski has emerged as one of the young stars of the team and he joins Mut and Tom Caron to discuss his role on the team, why he's confident, and the trade that almost sent him to Calgary.
Millar joins the show to discuss the recent Sox slide, Jacoby Ellsbury's lack of power, and hitting in the big leagues.
Andy Brickley joins the show to discuss the Bruins Game 1 win over the Rangers, the play of the three young Bruins defensemen, and the fatigue Jagr has shown on the ice.
We talk all things game one with Jack Edwards of NESN, and get to hear a little from Jack's Finnish protege as well.
We tackle four topics we haven't yet touched upon today.. Joe Thornton and disappointing former Boston athletes, parking in Boston, buying jersey numbers and more...
We talk about the report that Rob Gronkowski may now be a candidate for back surgery with a disc problem. Is Gronk just an injury prone guy? Or is he not rehabbing proberly? Can the Pats build an offense around a guy who is so inconsistently on the field? We discuss.
The Bruins have almost finished raking the Leafs, the Red Sox struggle from the mound, Miami Heat fans show their level of class.
Daily Planet Wednesday May 8th
Today on the Daily Planet the Bruins take a 2-1 series lead, the Red Sox get a run-off win, and we hear about cannibals and bible thieves.
Sounds like a prostate exam to me!
Damn New Yorkers!
Sauce Man stylings!
Linda explains how the shootout transpired in Watertown during the early morning hours. She saw the first suspect mortally wounded and police beginning the manhunt for the second suspect.More from this show
We check in with Danny Ainge for our first talk to him since the Celtics season ended last weekend. We talk about the future of the team, KG, Pierce, Doc Rivers and more, as Danny directly answers the rumors being floated by ESPN's Stephen A. Smith.More from this show
Buster Olney joins the show to discuss the muddled AL East, the average play of Ellsbury and how that will affect him in free agency, and Tropicana Field.More from this show
Boomer joined the program to discuss the tough loss for his beloved Rangers. Boomer told the guys that Lundqvist will be better in game two and predicted a seven game series.More from this show