Players to watch

76ERS: Center Spencer Hawes

The big center may have the hardest job of all, trying to keep Kevin Garnett from controlling the backboards and lofting that deadly floating jumper from 14 feet out. Hawes will also need to score some points in case the Sixers' offense continues to sputter.

CELTICS: Guard Ray Allen

The likely future Hall of Famer has not been himself for more than a month because of bone spurs in his right ankle. If Allen can shake off the injury and supply some points for the Celtics, even if it's just coming off the bench, the Sixers may not have anyone to answer at the other end.

Three keys to the game


The Boston Big Three of Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Allen have made it at least into the second round of the playoffs in each of the last five years, and they know it can't go on forever. Look for the trio to lay it all on the line this round.


The 76ers need better shooting by their guards. Jrue Holiday may average 18.2 points per playoff game, but his shooting percentage is .415. Evan Turner's percentage is .394. That won't cut it against a Celtics team that can play defense and score points.


With Thaddeus Young virtually invisible on offense last series, Lou Williams needs to get hot and stay hot.

- John N. Mitchell