Whenever these two teams met in the 1980s, it was classic.
Bird vs. Dr. J. McHale vs. Barkley. Moses vs. Parish.
Go back even further to the 1960s. Legends emerged.
Wilt vs. Russell. Havlicek vs. Greer. Jones vs. Walker.
On Saturday, the Sixers and Celtics will renew their rivalry in the Eastern Conference semifinals as the two teams haven’t faced each in the postseason since 2002 when the first round was still a best-of-5 series.
Boston won 3-2.
Who will take this series and likely face Miami in the conference finals?
(4) Boston Celtics vs. (8) Philadelphia 76ers
Game 1: Saturday, 8 p.m. (TNT)
How they got here: Boston def. (5) Atlanta, 4-2; Philadelphia def. (1) Chicago, 4-2.
How they REALLY got here: The Hawks simply don’t know how to win close games on a consistent basis to beat a savvy team like Boston. As for the Bulls, they were going to have a tough enough time trying to beat the Sixers when Derrick Rose went down with a season-ending knee injury in Game 1. When Joakim Noah hurt his ankle, the Bulls were bound to lose the series.
Biggest concern for Sixers: Handling Rajon Rondo and Boston’s experience. Boston’s Big 3 is still capable as Kevin Garnett showed in Game 6 against the Hawks.
Biggest concern for Celtics: Philadelphia’s growing confidence and depth. The 76ers don’t have a true superstar, but got plenty of active guys who get after it.
Series prediction: Celtics in 6. Wouldn’t be surprised if the series is 2-2 heading into a Game 5 in Boston, but if that occurs, the Celtics would win the final two with the latter one being in Philly. If the Sixers shoot as poorly as they did against Chicago against Boston, they will get swept.