Game 7, for a game the Celtics predominantly led, had a series of major momentum swings between the teams. Unfortunately, the pendulum swung the Celtics’ way at the end.
The Celtics started off on a strong note, leading 10-2 to start against the Sixers’ 5 starters. The trend of the starting five getting outscored continued yet again, and hopefully it’s the last time that lineup sees the floor as a unit. The Sixers stormed back, tying the game at 20 by the end of the first quarter. The Celtics came back, finishing off the first half with a late flurry and giving them an eight point lead at halftime. They stretched the lead early in the third quarter to 11 before the Sixers were able to get on a run to close it to one with 20 seconds left in the quarter. Then a Kevin Garnett buzzer-beating jumper to end the quarter, giving the Celtics a slightly more comfortable lead to enter the fourth.
The Celtics came out strong in the fourth quarter, getting as much as a seven point lead, before the Sixers started to come back. Paul Pierce then picked up 2 fouls in succession, one on each end of the floor, giving the Sixers a strong chance of coming back. But then Rajon Rondo scored 11 consecutive points for the Celtics, including two unlikely long jumpers, to pull away at the end while Jrue Holiday and the Sixers ran out of time to make a comeback.
That, in a nutshell, is the macro story of the game. A lot more things happened than the three paragraphs above, but ultimately what I’ve written is all that matters. There’s nowhere to go from here. There’s no more games. There’s no more adjustments, or rotations, or variables. It’s all over now. I will write more on the actual dynamics and performances in the game, what could have been done much better and whatnot, probably on Monday. The answer to every question will most likely be variations of “the Sixers suck at offense”, but obviously there is more to the game than just having no offense.
For now, we fans are left with the knowledge that the Sixers played as hard as they could for 48 minutes, they made it much further than anyone could have rationally anticipated at the start of the postseason, and there are legitimate things for this team to build on. We also know that the cast of characters will change, but we don’t know whether that will be a good thing or not.
The offseason has arrived, and like these playoffs we have no idea what’s in store.