Get Ready For Tip-Off With Some Random Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers Game 7 Stats
Dropping in to layout some quick Game 7 tidbits before tip-off. Celtics. 76ers. Who has the edge? That'll be for you to decide but first the only way to get properly pumped for an NBA Game 7 is to watch the cinematic masterpiece that was the NBC playoff game intros from the 90s. No better example than the clip below. The first 1:45 below is perfection on every level. The script. The laser drawing of the peacock leading into the sick orchestra drop. The drums that sound like someone dribbling a basketball after taking way too much cocaine. Everything.
Fucking shivers. If the hair on you're arms don't turn into quills from that I can't help you. That's what Game 7 means. OK let's hit it. Let's dive into some Game 7 stats. We'll start with the home team. The historic Boston Celtics.
There's no team more familiar with Game 7 than the Boston Celtics and they've won their last three including two last season. NBA nomad but once Celtic Ray Allen holds the NBA record for most game 7's played with 11 and Bill Russell and Paul Pierce are the only two with ten. But the only players that matter for Sunday are the ones squeaking the parquet wood. Check out this list of starters for both teams sorted in order of how many Game 7's played in their careers:
Four out of the top five are Celtics. That's important. And one of the key battles is going to be between the two "Old Reliables" of each team: Alpha Horford and P.J. (MVZ) Tucker. Horford has played almost 100 minutes of Game 7 action MORE than Marcus Smart who came in second place. That's what you need in an "old reliable". Sure, he's shot 1/12 in the past two games, but you have to know there's just a little dribble left in that Nos can of his and he's saving it for when it counts.
Jayson Tatum. OK let's face it. Dude was a lost puppy for three quarters in Game 6. I can't recall seeing a star player Monstar'd worse in any playoff game. It was so bad he even went full Ben Simmons once when driving to the lane only to pass it to literally no one in particular for a turnover. Not ideal to have all this happen to your best player when you face elimination. Yet somehow, this team worked through it and pulled it off. That's what a championship team does.
Then there's the visitors. The Philadelphia 76ers. While the Game 7 experience chart above seems to favor the Celtics, 76ers fans can easily Rorschach it around a bit to make it seem to favor them. Who cares about how many games the Celtics have played when three out of the top four starters in Game 7 PPG will be 76ers?
Same graph. Just with a Philly spin. That's still 14 total Game 7s for the 76ers which is plenty anyway. And you just know Joel Embiid is eager to get his first Game 7 win after starting 0-2 to end the Kawhi Leonard ball bounce off the rim nightmares he's been having ever since. Then you have Harden who comes in with a 3-2 Game 7 record and P.J. Tucker who is 2-2. Those are two most experienced. Your 1B super star and your "Old Reliable".
Let's talk about that Old Reliable. The key to this game is going to be for Tucker to do what Tucker does: not score any points. This is critical. The 76ers are 8-0 in games he doesn't attempt a shot and 17-6 this year when he doesn't score. Remember in Game 1 of this very series when Joel Embiid was out and the team needed other guys to step up? P.J. knew exactly what to do. That being… let James Harden do all the work. Work smarter, not harder. That's what elder wiseman do. Get the fuck out the way and just create space. If you want to know why the 76ers never had a chance in Game 6, it's because Tucker made a mistake and made the first shot of the game. If I'm the 76ers, I'm buying a seat on the wood next to Portnoy just for P.J. to do what he does best.
One last thing in favor of the 76ers is that since Adam Silver took over in 2014, 39 percent of road teams have won Game 7 compared to just 18 percent from 1984-2013.
This includes seven road team wins in the last nine Game 7's. NBA Rigged for the away team? Who's to know. But I guess if the home team can't finish by six games it makes the final one a toss up. That seems to be exactly what we can look to expect.
That's all I got. Should probably call my mom now.