The Sixers are too young to think about the consequences. And that’s just the way Doug Collins wants it.
They didn’t think about taking on top-seeded Chicago, they didn’t think about all the future Hall of Famers on the Celtics and they aren’t thinking about the Eastern Conference Finals. They’re simply playing ball and having fun doing it. And now they find themselves one win away from the NBA’s final four.
By overwhelming the Celtics with youthful energy in Wednesday’s 82-75 win, the Sixers forced a Game 7 Saturday in Boston.
“You can’t think of any kind of consequence,” Collins said. “That’s the beauty of youth. They look at things naively which is great.”
Jrue Holiday, 21, is a perfect example. He scored 12 points in the second half Wednesday night and finished with a team-high 20. His aggression is the key to the Sixers offense — when he has scored 18 or more points during this playoff run, they are 5-0.
“I was very very proud of Jrue Holiday tonight. He stayed in attack mode,” Collins said. “He knows he needs to score for us.”
The game never should have been as close as it was. The Sixers went 17-for-28 from the free-throw line while the Celtics made 20-of-23. Andre Iguodala and Evan Turner combined to go 5-for-12 from the charity stripe.
Still, the Celtics never really threatened down the stretch as the Sixers brought far superior energy. They outscored Boston 42-16 in the paint and were fueled by a raucous crowd.
“Someone else was talking bad about our fans, so it’s good to get this victory for them,” said Elton Brand, who was referring to Kevin Garnett’s “fair-weather” remarks following Game 5.