Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

76ers Have a Plan and a Man to Stop Veteran Forward

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

76ers Have a Plan and a Man to Stop Veteran Forward

Article excerpt

Of all the players that 76ers forward Andre Iguodala has to guard, few offer more of a physical challenge as Boston's Paul Pierce.

With the deciding Game 7 of the teams' Eastern Conference semifinal series being staged today at Boston's TD Garden, the 76ers will likely need to put the clamps on Pierce to advance to the conference final against the Miami Heat.

Easier said than done against a player who has appeared in 122 postseason games for the Celtics, is a 10-time All-Star and owns one NBA Finals MVP.

Never the quickest player and even slower after spraining his MCL in the first round against Atlanta, Pierce has still found a way to score in this series, and frequently it has come at the free-throw line.

"He is the kind of guy who can hit five field goals and end with 24 points," Doug Collins said about Pierce after practice Friday at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Collins knows his stats. In the 76ers' 82-75 Game 6 win, Pierce scored 24 points on five field goals. He also hit all 13 free throws.

In the Celtics' 107-91 win in Game 3, Pierce made just six field goals, but scored 24 points, with 11 coming at the free-throw line.

"It's a good matchup," Iguodala said about his battle with Pierce. "He's a multiple All-Star, is going to be in the Hall of Fame and is one of the best Celtics that ever played so you definitely have your hands full with him."

With his physical style of play, Pierce is more likely to barrel over a defender like Iguodala than blow by him.

"It's a physical game," Iguodala said matter-of-factly.

He mentioned that not just Pierce, but the entire Celtics team is physical.

While Pierce has struggled from the field in this series, shooting 39.7 percent, he has made up for it at the free-throw line. In the six games, he has converted 47 of 50 free throws (94 percent) and is averaging 18.2 points per game. …

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