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.
Greg and Chris discuss the Pats kicking the tires on Rolando McClain, something that shocked both of these guys. They also get into the Aaron Hernandez trial and Robert Kraft appearing as a witness last Tuesday. Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders, called the show to talk offseason free agency, Pats HOF/Parcells and more. The guys also got into the NFL schedule coming out soon and who the Pats will open with.
The intelligent and knowledgeable Aaron Schatz calls the boys to discuss the Patriots offseason, how some teams don't need to make moves in free agency to improve, the Pats HOF debate and much more.
In hour 1 on this fine Easter Sunday, Greg and Chris discuss the Patriots Hall of Fame - who's in, who's not and who should be? They also get into the NFL draft and discuss some particular names Pats fans should keep in mind with WEEI.com's Mike "Trags" Petraglia.
Brian "White Mamba" Scalabrine joins the guys to talk about the Celtics playoff push, the development of Marcus Smart and James Young, and the prospect of Brad Stevens leaving the Celtics for a college job.
Brow Buff's Sam Packard and Ben Kichen break down Marcus Smart's unfortunate ball tap, debate leadership in the Celtics locker room, and rehash the great Kevin Love to Boston rumors.
Flannery joins Mut to break down the Isaiah Thomas trade to Boston and what it means for the Celtics this season and in the future. Paul also chats with Mut about the other deals that happened at the NBA's trading deadline
Xander had the game winning hit in the bottom of the 9th to get the Red Sox on top of the Baltimore Orioles 3-2, he talked with Joe and Dave after the game about what his thought process during the at-bat was and the excitement of a walk-off.
Buster Olney of ESPN joins the guys to talk about the first two weeks of the baseball season. They discuss the struggling Red Sox rotation and the potential of the high-powered offense.
Joe and Dave talk with Red Sox catcher Ryan Hanigan after the Red Sox come back to beat the Nationals 8-7.
Cominf off a terrible game agaisnt the Capitals, Pierre McGuire discusses Claude Julien's decision to mix up the lines as well as the Bruins two remaining games.
We talk all things Bruins with the great Jack Edwards of NESN as they prepare to take on the Capitals.
In hour 2 of the Easter edition, the Sunday Skate crew discuss Reilly Smith and how he is struggling to get on track. This leads to a discussion of his much disputed new contract and Chiarelli's way of conducting team business. They get in Gregory Campbell's role on the team and if he still deserves as much ice time as he has been getting. More line discussions and a look at the B's playoff push ensue.
The latest edition of Answer The Question Kirk with Rob Bradford and Gary Tanguay.
The Celtics president of basketball operations joined the show to preview Cavs Celts.
The guys discussed the Pats draft with Todd McShay.
Kyle Draper and Sports Radio Hack Lou Merloni make up after beefing earlier in the week, Aaron Hernandez gets taken down by Larry Willmore, and our very own Christian Fauria makes his Country Music Debut
Celtics play-by-play announcer Mike Gorman joins the guys to defend his prediction of Celtics in 6.
After some suspicious outfield play from Red Sox Left Fielder Hanley Ramirez, the guys question whether or not he has what it takes to play in the outfield, a position he has never played before.
Michael, Jerry and Andy Hart discuss this year's Celtics as they enter the playoffs to take one of the best teams in the East in the NBA Playoffs.
We discuss the Britt McHenry suspension from ESPN, and the incident itself, and whether or not we've all had an incident like this, and whether her response was in any way appropriate.
We wrap up the day with some of the best sound of the day and the week.
Mikey Adams, joined by Lenny Megliola and Chris Villani, talks about the Red Sox home opening win at Fenway and the Bruins fallout after missing the playoffs including the future of Peter Chiarelli and Claude Julien.
Chris Price joins Mut to talk about how Revis will heat up the Jets-Pats rivalry next season
Mut opens his show talking about the New York Jets filing tampering charges on the Patriots
Ben and Sam are joined by Julian Edlow from WEEI.com to give their predictions on every series in the NBA Playoffs.
Jerry is joined by hockey writer Brian "Rear Admiral" McGonagle of Barstool Sports to perform a post-mortem on what happened to the 2014-15 Bruins, who's to blame and where the team goes from here.
Ben and Alex break down Leg 1 of the quarter finals of the Champions League and talk about some of the most interesting transfer rumors.
The Celtics president of basketball operations joined the show to preview Cavs Celts.More from this show
Red Sox GM Ben Cherington joined the show to discuss the start of the season.More from this show