NBA Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, April 14th (All times eastern)
Boston Celtics (60-20) at Philadelphia 76ers (40-40), 8 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Longtime rivals meet for the final time in the regular season Tuesday when the Boston Celtics visit the reeling Philadelphia 76ers.
The game could also be a preview of the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Celtics have clinched the second seed in the East while the Sixers currently are seventh, one-half game behind Chicago with just two to play.
The Celtics are coming off their worst loss of the season on Sunday, a 107-76 drubbing at the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James finished with 29 points and seven assists in that one as the Cavs used a stifling first quarter to subdue Boston..
Cleveland outscored Boston 31-9 in the first quarter on the way to the win, the Cavs' fourth in a row. James actually outscored the Celtics all by himself, putting up 10 points in the period.
The Celtics hadn't lost by more than 16 points this season -- which came in the team's first defeat, a 95-79 decision against Indiana on November 1.
Paul Pierce had a team-high 14 points and Glen Davis added 12 for Boston, which had won six in a row.
C's forward Kevin Garnett missed the contest with his balky right knee. The All-Star has sat out 21 of Boston's last 25 games with the problem and coach Doc Rivers decided on Monday that Garnett would also sit out the final two games of the regular season as a precaution.
The Sixers, meanwhile, have collapsed down the stretch after securing a playoff spot. Philly dropped its season-high fifth in a row north of the border Sunday when Chris Bosh scored 22 points and pulled down eight rebounds as Toronto upended Philadelphia, 111-104, at Air Canada Centre.
Andre Iguodala had 21 points and eight assists, but also accounted for 10 of Philadelphia's 19 turnovers. Those led to 31 Toronto points, offsetting the Sixers' 47-34 rebounding advantage. That included a 22-11 cushion on the offensive glass.
Lou Williams came off the bench for 23 points to pace the Sixers, who now can finish no better than sixth in the Eastern Conference. Miami locked up the fifth seed Sunday.
Samuel Dalembert ended with 18 points and 12 rebounds in defeat. Andre Miller shot just 2-of-14 from the field, on the way to 10 points.
Philadelphia will get a boost tonight with the return of forward Thaddeus Young, who has missed the last seven games with a right ankle sprain.
The Celtics, who will be shooting for a four-game season sweep of Philly tonight, finish the regular season against Washington on Wednesday night, while the Sixers visit the NBA's best team, the Cavaliers.
04/14 15:24:49 ET