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News » Celtics show Sixers why they are champs

Celtics show Sixers why they are champs

Celtics show Sixers why they are champs
BOSTON - Maurice Cheeks said the message he left with his team was the strongest of the season.

Andre Iguodala said the loss was a little worse than any other he has endured in a 76ers uniform.

Thaddeus Young said the team did nothing right on the court.

That's what was said Friday night after the Sixers' 102-78 loss to the Boston Celtics at TD Banknorth Garden.

The Sixers dropped to 7-9. Boston improved to 15-2.

Before the game, Cheeks shook his head and said he didn't see the Celtics as the standard against which his team should measure itself.

"Nah," he said. Progress is the goal, consistent play the objective.

Like a half-court heave, the Sixers knew winning one at the sold-out arena was improbable. What they had hoped was to carry over Wednesday night's strong performance against the Orlando Magic, when they lost, 96-94, in the closing seconds to one of the strongest teams in the Eastern Conference.

But Boston proved that the gap between the Sixers and the NBA's elite teams is, for now, quite wide.

"They beat us from top to bottom," Cheeks said. "They took us out of every set we have."

What did Cheeks say to his team?

"I left it with them," the coach said.

"It wasn't really a message," Andre Miller said. "Just more 'on to the next game.' Take a loss and move on. . . ."

After one half, the only thing standing between the Sixers and embarrassment was Elton Brand's soft jump shot: The power forward scored 12 of the Sixers' 28 first-half points.

Brand finished with a team-high 18 points. The Celtics' sweet-shooting Ray Allen scored a game-high 23 points, going 3 for 5 from the three-point line.

In the third quarter, in a two-minute span, Celtics forward Kevin Garnett threw down the third in a trio of slams and the Garden crowd exploded as Garnett pounded his chest.

That third Garnett slam, on which he was fouled, gave the Celtics a 26-point lead at 73-47. He finished with 16 points.

The disparity was a combination of crisp offensive production and stifling defense by the Celtics, who shot 51.3 percent from the field, created 16 turnovers, and limited the Sixers to 41.6 percent shooting.

Starters Iguodala (nine points), Samuel Dalembert (zero points), and Thaddeus Young (four points) combined for 13 points on 6-for-19 shooting.

Cheeks used every available player on his roster.

Are changes on the horizon?

"We've all been around Basketball for a long time," Iguodala said. "It's not our call. We can't blame [Cheeks] or one person. We all have to change. . . . I don't think I've played one good game this whole year."

Sixers reserve guard Lou Williams scored 15 points and rookie Marreese Speights scored 12 points before being ejected with 43.4 seconds remaining after committing a flagrant foul against the Celtics' Brian Scalabrine.

Speights walked through the tunnel, head down, only a minute before his teammates.

Contact staff writer Kate Fagan at 856-779-3844

or kfagan@phillynews.com.

Author: Fox Sports
Author's Website: http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 29, 2008


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