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Nevertheless, after getting housed in the series opener, a double-digits loss in which almost nothing went right, Thursday’s game was at least an affirmation that the Sixers are going to be in this series for the long haul and are capable of collecting the necessary road win.
That ability was never really in question during the first series against the Heat, but that is because playing in Miami isn’t so much a road game in a hostile atmosphere as it is a pleasant, but distracting stroll through a swank nightclub.
The newer place isn’t that ominous, but it’s no bargain for a visitor, so it wasn’t nothing that the Sixers hitched up their drawers and came out with fire and purpose at the start of Thursday’s game.
They didn’t finish the job, but they will get one or two more chances, assuming their own home-court advantage means what it should.
By now, the nature of this series, and the nature of real NBA playoff basketball, should be clear to the Sixers.
It is all about defense, and all about which team is able to maintain some semblance of a fluid offense in the face of it.
Boston’s philosophy on guarding Simmons is very simple: Don’t.In their own building, they should be expected to defend with more tenacity and put the Celtics on their heels.Boston is shooting well above its regular-season average, and that has to change in the Wells Fargo Center.He scored 18 points in the first game and was a minus-21, and then that one lonely point in the second game and was a minus-23.That means he was neither getting his teammates off — 13 total assists in the two games — nor keeping up with Boston’s quick ball movement to open players. He was having the same bad game when the Sixers were up by 22 points, though. The Sixers went from shooting 35 free throws in the opener to shooting 14 in the second game.
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They do not arrive midway through the opening quarter and settle in to remind themselves which teams happen to be playing that evening.