This Kevin Garnett illegal screen – and a Ray Allen missed stepback jumper on the possession prior – is one of the reasons the 76ers beat the Celtics to even their series at one. So is this splendid, acrobatic Evan Turner layup in the final minute.
Andre Iguodala’s defense on Paul Pierce also has to be noted. Here’s what Pierce, a future Hall of Famer, has done in two games with Iguodala in his jersey:
3-for-11 FGs, 14 points
2-for-9 FGs, 7 points
Pierce averaged 19 ppg during the regular season, and in the clutch, he’s Boston’s first option (Ray Allen, coming off an injury, is probably No. 2 at this point). Rondo and KG came through in game one; in game two, after the Allen miss, they couldn’t even free Pierce up for the game-winning shot. I’ve advocated putting Iguodala on Rondo, thinking he’s more valuable than Pierce, but Doug Collins (who has 429 more NBA wins than I do) seems to know what he’s doing.
Iguodala was also effective in the first round against Luol Deng of Chicago*. In the Bulls’ four losses, Deng shot a combined 18-for-46 (39 percent) and averaged just 10.7 ppg. At the risk of looking ahead to the Eastern Conference Finals … is the move to have Iguodala defend Wade or LeBron? Let’s say he can force Wade into a bad series … and Bosh doesn’t play … any shot Philly pulls the upset?
I’ll rescind that last sentence after Rondo’s inevitable triple-double in Boston’s game three win in Filthydelphia.
* I didn’t check to see if Deng’s numbers fall off a cliff without Rose. In the two Chicago wins, he did play well (41 points on 18-of-33 shooting).