Today's game with the Celtics is gigantic for the Sixers in terms of taking total control of this series against a battered, bruised and frayed Boston team.
Sixers fans shouldn't buy into the hype that the rest of the nation is about this series – the Sixers can definitely win it and move on to the Eastern Conference finals against, dare we say, uh, Indiana.
Despite the close nature of the last two games in Boston, it's evident that the Sixers basically lost Game 1 more than the Celtics won it. In short, they should be playing with a commanding 2-0 lead.
Know what needs to happen today in Game 3 and again in Game 4? Elton Brand needs to stand and deliver.
Brand is the guy that Philly fans are always talking about amnestying this summer. Well, guess what. The Sixers might very well do that (especially if they can acquire a power forward like, say, Kris Humphries in free agency), but right now, on this the 16th day of May with the hated Celtics set to invade Wells Fargo Center, that's an irrelevant conversation.
If Brand shows up in the next few games, everything becomes easier for every Sixer out there at the offensive end. For starters, it gives the Celtics a new wrinkle to concern themselves with, especially since by now they figure that rookie Lavoy Allen poses a bigger threat than the former number one pick in the 1999 draft.
I think that Brand will be playing with extra-added incentive tonight. He's a prideful guy who has averaged 18.3 points and 9.4 rebounds. However, through two games against the Celtics he's averaging just 5.5 points and 2.5 boards.
If Brand can get it rolling tonight, the Sixers will be that much closer to reaching the Eastern Conference finals, where, I think, they'd face the Indiana Pacers.
That's right, the Pacers. After watching LeBron James brutalize the rim with those three late free throws, I'm officially off the three-time MVP's bandwagon. He's got to win me back. He seems to have that Donovan McNabb gene. You know, the one that says when the pressure is on let me throw this ball either in the dirt or at someone standing on the sidelines.
The biggest difference between LeBron and McNabb is that McNabb had great talent, not elite. LeBron is otherworldly and still can't get it done. Shame.
Contact staff writer John N. Mitchell at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JmitchInquirer