Conference semifinal preview: No. 4 Celtics vs. No. 8 Sixers
The 76ers looked hopeless throughout the second half of the season while surrendering the division championship to Boston. But Philadelphia was able to hold onto the final playoff spot and then take advantage of injuries to Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah to upset the top-seeded Bulls in six games. The Celtics should win most of the individual matchups, but those advantages could be offset by the variety injuries that afflicted them during their six-game win in the opening round against Atlanta. In March, Philadelphia exploited its youth, depth and team defense to push the pace while beating Boston twice, and its upset of Chicago has restored the Sixers' confidence. This will be a surprisingly competitive series.
If Rose hadn't been injured then Chicago would be facing Boston in this round. But don't disrespect the Sixers, who turned their season around in the last two weeks. The Celtics will win if healthy, though health cannot be assured for an elderly roster in this crazily truncated season.