Because the Celtics are a proud team with a championship pedigree, it was understood that they would at some point come alive offensively, despite their advanced age.
The hope was that when that happened the 76ers would be able to rely on guys such as Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young to provide some punch, since the Sixers don't have the same type of firepower.
Young and Williams both showed up Wednesday, finishing with 22 and 13 points, respectively, off the bench. However, as they lost the pivotal third game of the best-of-seven series at the Wells Fargo Center - and the home-court advantage as well - their offensive outbreak meant nothing, especially since the starters didn't hold up their end of the deal.
Young and Williams led a Sixers bench attack that outscored the Celtics bench, 55-23. Of course, this was the byproduct of the Boston starters' dominant showing. Young shot the ball well, finishing 10 for 16 from the floor. And while Williams didn't shoot the ball particularly well (4 for 10), he was 2 for 3 from behind the three-point line.
But as Williams pointed out, this is not the time to cast blame on a teammate.
"There are no moral victories at this point in the season," Williams said. "We've got to have everybody on the same page. It doesn't mean anything for Thad to have a great game. It doesn't mean anything for me to make shots if we don't win.
"Obviously everybody has to be on the same page collectively, but it's not a finger-pointing thing where the first group wasn't good and the second group was," Williams continued. "We have to have everybody on the same page, and we know that."
Williams, who led the Sixers in scoring during the regular season at 14.9 points per game despite coming off the bench, went into Wednesday's game having struggled to find his offense against Boston. He's shooting just 29 percent from the field and averaging 8.5 points.
Young is dealing with some minor injury issues (right shin, ankle) and has been in an even greater funk. After averaging 12.8 points per game and shooting slightly better than 50 percent from the field this season, Young, so often matched up against bigger players in this series and the last, has struggled against the Celtics. Going into Wednesday's game, Young had scored nine points in the first two games and was shooting just 14 percent from the field.
Like Williams, Young was not thrilled with his big game coming in a losing effort.
"It's very disappointing," Young said. "You want those wins, and when you are having a good, solid game you want to come out on top. But it doesn't always happen that way. Sometimes you just have to take it and go with it and then try and come back with it. And that's what we're going to do. They gave us a good shot tonight. We've got to bounce back.
Williams said the key is that the Sixers make the necessary adjustments and get everybody on the same page in time for Friday's game. If they don't, the Sixers could find themselves in the same 3-1 hole they placed the Bulls into during their first-round series .
"We have to do a better job of paying attention to detail, and we didn't do that tonight," Williams said. "A lot of our principles and a lot of our game-planning that we went through this morning, it didn't carry over to tonight, and it showed."