You're in for a treat, America! For the second time in five days, the Sixers will be playing in a nationally televised game, this time against the Boston Celtics. In all honesty, things are probably going to get worse from the Sixers from here out. It's become pretty clear that Andrew Bynum likely won't play a game this season, and will possibly never suit up for Philadelphia. Without him, they've totally unraveled.
Boston, on the other hand, has figured out how to thrive without their superstar. Since Rajon Rondo tore his ACL, the Celtics have gone 11-4 and have played their best basketball of the year. In danger of falling out of the playoffs when their point guard went down, Boston has entrenched themselves in among the top eight in the East.
Boston’s offensive rating and differential with their opponents spikes with Rondo off the floor. The Celtics outscore their opponents by 2.6 points per 100 possessions with Rondo sidelined; that number is flipped to -2.4 with him playing.
Part of the reason for the uptick in efficiency is having more ball handlers on the floor that can knock down their free throws. Rondo was hitting just 64.5 percent of his FTs before the injury, a big reason for his reluctance to drive the ball in big situations. Of the committee of guards that’s picked up the slack - Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and Avery Bradley - none shoots worse than Bradley’s 73.9 percent from the line. The other two both knock down better than 85 percent of their free throws.
Come On, Doug
The Sixers dealt away a future first round pick on draft day last summer to acquire Arnett Moultrie, a raw 6’11” power forward from Mississippi State. So far this season, though, Doug Collins has yet to let him off the bench for any extended time.
In the Sixers last three games, Moultrie has made all seven of his shots while playing a total of less than 20 minutes. His rebounding has been poor - a total of just one rebound in those three games and a 14.4 total rebound percentage - but there’s no reason for a talented kid to be glued to the bench in a lost season. For a team that sorely needs some athleticism in the frontcourt, it’s even more unacceptable. Who knows, he could even improve on the glass with some floor time.