The Boston-Philadelphia second-round series is a battle between two bad offensive teams and two great defensive teams, and so the games have mostly been close and low-scoring. There has been one blowout, in the Celtics’ favor, but these teams are so close and the chances of an offensive explosion so low that even a wheezing, limping version of one of them could walk out with a win in Game 7 given a bit of luck and good shooting.
That’s good news for Boston, which is wheezing and limping home after the double blow of losing Game 6 on Wednesday in Philadelphia and likely losing second-year guard Avery Bradley for the rest of the playoffs because of multiple shoulder injuries that may require offseason surgery. In addition, shooting guard Ray Allen is suffering from injuries to both ankles, small forward Paul Pierce is playing through a strained MCL in his knee and center Greg Stiemsma’s foot problems have acted up again.
You have to wonder now if Boston has reached a tipping point with the injuries. If playing Game 7 at home represented something like a 65/35 proposition for the Celtics (and that’s probably generous), Bradley’s injury knocks that down to something like 50/50. Boston may well eke out a victory on Saturday, but we have likely been robbed of the chance to see a close-to-intact Celtics team — proud champions with a ferocious defense — make one last honest push for an NBA Finals appearance.