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A Story About Control: Game Three of Sixers-Celtics at WFC

May 16, 2012, 6:17 PM EDT

The rivalry is renewed tonight in South Philadelphia as the Sixers take on the Boston Celtics in a pivotal Game 3.

It’s a little amazing that even after dropping Game One — a game that by all accounts, the Sixers could and (more arguably) should have won — we were still able to leave Boston with a series split. The Sixers now have the chance to take control of the series with their two games at the WFC — where they remain, incredibly, one of only three remaining teams (and the only one in the East) in the playoffs to be undefeated at home. It should be a difficult task, but not an impossible one, as the Sixers won their two games against Boston in Philly with minimal resistance, though both were against a tired, reeling Boston team were likely a lot less fired up than they should be tonight and on Friday.

What’s it gonna take? Well, your guess is good as mine, really, since nothing about the first two games of this series have made all that much sense to me, but let’s key on two positive trends from Games One and Two that we’d like to see continue in the City of Brotherly Love. First, that Paul Pierce remains thoroughly in check — a combination of injuries and beastly Andre Iguodala defense have held The Truth to a combined 21 points on 25% shooting thusfar, a key weapon neutralized for the Celtics. Second, that Lavoy Allen continues to get in and get his, averaging 11 points and seven rebounds a game off the bench in this series and being the Sixers’ most consistent post scrapper. (Lavoy has a 20.6 PER for the playoffs entire, by the way, by far the team’s highest efficiency rating.)

As far as the smaller number of minutes Elton Brand and Thad Young have seen over the past couple games of the series, Doug Collins stressed he’s going to put the guys who give his team the best chance to win on that given night on the floor. Elton and Thad have been banged up while Lavoy and co. have really stepped up.

“EB is a great teammate and so is Thad,” Coach Collins said before tonight’s game. “EB’s has had a little bit of problems with that shoulder. Thad had a little bit of a sore ankle. I think anybody who would ever think I’m not going to play the guys that give us the best guys on a particular night doesn’t know me very well. Or if anybody would have thought I don’t play younger players… the end of game the other day we had Lavoy Allen on the floor guarding Kevin Garnett.”

Time for Lavoy to man up once again, this time in front of his faithful Philly fans.

7:00 tip from Philly. It might’ve taken a round to do it, but hopefully the city is convinced that the team is really worth supporting this time, and will come out in droves for our first home game of the second round. Strength in numbers, we can get it right, one time. Go Sixers.

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One other quote worth noting from the pre game. Coach Collins was asked a question about his commentator days: