The 76ers have to feel good, not only about splitting the first two games of their Eastern Conference semifinal at Boston, but doing it without their leading scorer having a breakout game.
Lou Williams, second in the NBA's Sixth Man of the Year voting, who led the Sixers with a 14.9 regular season scoring average, has only averaged 8.5 points per game in the first two against the Celtics. Williams is shooting 7 for 24 in the two games.
"The first game they did a good job of trying to get the ball out of my hands," Williams said following this morning's shootaround in preparation for Game 3 tonight at the Wells Fargo Center. "The second game they played me honest and I still wasn't able to get over the hump so hopefully tonight they play me honest in our building and I can have better success."
Sixers coach Doug Collins wants Williams to remain aggressive.
"He is really streaky," Collins said. "The one thing about Lou is he knows he has a green light and when he has a shot we want him to take it."
Of course, Collins doesn't want Williams forcing shots. He also hopes to get Williams out in transition more, especially with how much defensive attention he commands.
"That is why it is important for us to get in the open court and make sure Lou runs every possession," Collins said. That is sometimes when you get shots. When you get in a half court it is very difficult."
Williams insists he won't lose his confidence even if his shot hasn't arrived yet in this series.
"Shooters go through those little lulls and I go through stretches when I make a lot of shots and I have a few games where I am not making shots," Williams said. "Hopefully every time I step on the court I feel that's going to be the game where I break loose and have a big game and hopefully tonight is another opportunity for me to do that."