Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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Celtics struggling with injuries as they face Sixers in crucial Game 6

The Boston Celtics can eliminate the SIxers in Game 6 tonight at the Wells Fargo Center, but they'll have to do it with what could be a very limited lineup.

Celtics struggling with injuries as they face Sixers in crucial Game 6

Ray Allen will start for the Celtics instead of shooting guard Avery Bradley. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Ray Allen will start for the Celtics instead of shooting guard Avery Bradley. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)

The Boston Celtics arrived at the Wells Fargo Center this morning for their shootaround in preparation for tonight's Game 6 at the Wells Fargo Center walking awfully slowly.

Paul Pierce shuffled his way to the locker room with his sprained left knee ligaments. Ray Allen gingerly stepped as to not disrupt the bone spurs in his foot. Kevin Garnett looked every bit of his 36 years.

But the biggest news came from coach Doc Rivers, who announced that starting shooting guard and defensive specialist Avery Bradley would miss his second-straight game due to shoulder injuries. That means Allen, who was limping noticeably during much of the Celtics win in Game 5, will once again get the start.

"He's a little better, not much. I don't think he'll play tonight," said Rivers of Bradley. "He won't do anything at shootaround for sure and then we'll let him warm up and see if he can warm up and then go from there."

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As for Allen, Rivers was asked of his status for tonight. "It is what it is," he said. "He's a go right now and obviously if he can't go we're going to have to go somewhere else."

Having Allen as a starter without Bradley, which he was for the early part of the season before an ankle injury, isn't a big advantage for the Sixers, said coach Doug Collins.

"What it does is, Ray Allen puts another shooter on the floor," said Collins. "It spaces you out even more so maybe where you could help a little more off of Avery Bradley and do some things, now when they run you off those screens with Ray Allen you're worried about him and then you get stretched out. I thought that's what happened the other night (a 101-85 Boston win that gave them a 3-2 series lead), we got a little bit extended. Ray Allen, when he catches the ball, every time he shoots it you think it's going in. He gives you a lot of different problems at the other end of the floor."

The Sixers will need to exploit Allen at the defensive end of the court, where he has been matched up against Evan Turner. Turner will have to run Allen around the floor defensively, and look to break him down off the dribble to create 4-on-3's and other mismatches.

Another key to the game will be the Sixers defense on point guard Rajon Rondo, who is averaging 14.6 assists in this series.

"He's a pass-first guy," said Collins. "He really wants to pass. The other night he had five assists at half, and we were up three. And he had nine assists in the second half. His mentality, as much as possible, is getting (Kevin) Garnett shots, getting (Brandon) Bass shots, getting Ray Allen and getting Paul Pierce (shots). He can get into that lane any time he wants to. If he is shooting those shots you have to hope those other guys aren't getting as involved. He has a great feel for the game. He knows when to pass, and he knows when to shoot. The numbers on him are when he scores more than he assists they're record is not quite as good as when he's getting a ton of assists and his points are down a little bit."

Game 6 starts at 8 p.m.

Bob Cooney
About this blog
Bob Cooney has been at the Daily News for more than 20 years, working in the sports department for the past 15. This is his third season on the Sixers beat. He has covered just about everything, but mostly college basketball, where he was the La Salle beat writer for six seasons. E-mail Bob at cooneyb@phillynews.com and follow him on Twitter.

Bob Cooney
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