Latest posts by Colton Jones (see all)
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The Philadelphia 76ers are well aware of the challenge that awaits them with the Boston Celtics holding homecourt advantage for their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
However, while recognizing that, the upstart 76ers enjoyed their time spent at AmericanAirlines Arena during their two road games of their first-round series against the Miami Heat.
“When we were in Miami … the gym was half-empty,” Sixers backup big man Ersan Ilyasova said after practice Sunday. “But when you go to Boston, you will feel it. Even in the regular season, you know when you play that team, the arena is full, and they’re really committed fans.”
It will be a complete 180 for Philadelphia, which won both games played in Miami in the first round, in Beantown, however. TD Garden is the polar opposite of what the 76ers experienced in the first round.
“It’s as loud as it gets for the playoffs,” veteran guard J.J. Redick said after practice. Reddick said the playoff games he played in Boston while was a member of the Orlando Magic “were as intense of any playoff games I’ve played in my career.”
When the series tips off Monday night, the 76ers are well aware of the challenge the Boston fans, backing the No. 2-seeded, injury-ravaged Celtics will present.
“It’s always tough to play at their place,” Ilyasova said. “It’s always crowded, and we have to come up with a lot of energy and edge to win the game.”
Philadelphia coach Brett Brown praised Boston’s defense, which was the best in the league in terms of defensive rating in the regular season but was 10th of 16 playoff teams entering play Sunday.
“You just go through [their rotation], they all can guard their own man,” Brown said. “They don’t need help.
“So I think the design of the team is excellent, and I think the pieces that they have, where they really are prideful in guarding their own man and they don’t get into rotations much … I think it starts with that.”