Thursday, November 1, 2012

1st Round - Celtics/76ers - Game 5

Paul Pierce struck Irish gold again, despite a desperate and valiant effort by the 76ers from the outset to the disheartening conclusion that brought a premature end to Philadelphia's post-season.

After a rim-crushing dunk by Jason Richardson tied the game at 103, Paul Pierce got the ball from Rajon Rondo (who just missed his 4th double double of the series).

After a crossover that belied Paul Pierce's longevity in the NBA, he used a dazzling first step to inch past his defender. But the recognition that Andrew Bynum was waiting for him at the basket activated the veteran forward's brilliance.

Paul Pierce dropped the bottom out for his defender by pulling back, fading, and knocking down a crippling shot, lifting Boston's score to 105 and leaving only .6 milliseconds for Philadelphia to respond. Without any timeouts, a full-court prayer was't answered and the series was abruptly over, despite Philadelphia's resilient energy.

Although they lost, Philadelphia outscored Boston considerably in the 1st quarter and forced the champions on their heels, trying to catch up against the much more fluent and sped up offense. Despite the added speed, and a plethora of three point shots, the 76ers weren't shooting the lights out like the Phoenix Suns would. But Andrew Bynum still dominated the paint, outmaneuvering Roy Hibbert and KG, finishing with 26 points and 17 rebounds, only to come up short.

The 76ers would've loved nothing more than to flip the pressure back onto the defending champions by stealing a win tonight. They certainly had enough to tie the game, but not enough time to extend this series to a Game 6, which would've saw them return to a stoked Philadelphia crowd. With enough energy and hunger, the underdogs might've blown the Celtics away, forcing a do-or-die Game 7 back in Boston.

It wasn't to be. The Celtics move on, 105-103, winning 4-1.

But the New York Knicks are waiting for them after knocking out the Bulls.

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