When Antonio “Scoop” Jardine, former Neumann-Goretti and Syracuse star, had a chance to participate in a NBA pre-draft workout for the Philadelphia 76ers, needless to say he was really excited. Jardine couldn’t wait to showcase his basketball skills for his hometown team.
“It feels like home,” Jardine said. “I’m happy to be home. I’ve been fortunate to be called into a workout for the Sixers. I think that’s one great thing for myself and another step into my career I’m about to go into. It was great to be out here. I had a lot of energy because I was happy to be home with my family.”
Jardine grew up in South Philadelphia, not too far from the Wells Fargo Center, where he played some college basketball games when the Orange faced Big East rival Villanova.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound point guard, helped Syracuse advance to the NCAA Elite Eight in 2012. He averaged 14.7 points over the Orange’s last three tournament games. The former Catholic League standout has a busy schedule in front of him as he prepares for the NBA draft. Jardine feels very good about his position in the draft.
“Right now, I’m turning a lot of heads,” Jardine said. “My stock is really rising since the workouts have started. My dream is to be drafted. I don’t know here at, but I’m very confident I’ll be drafted come June 28.”
Jardine has a lot of confidence in himself. That’s the way he plays the game. In 2006, he guided Neumann-Goretti to the Catholic League championship. Jardine had a bundle of talent back then and has even more now following an impressive college basketball career. He will draw on his talent and experience as he displays his skills for other teams.
“I’ve worked out for New York (Knicks) and San Antonio (Spurs),” he said. “I’ve gone to the Minnesota combine where there were 30 teams there. That’s where I improved my stock.
“I’ll be busy for these next 26 days. I got Washington and New York (Knicks) again, Minnesota (Timberwolves) again, San Antonio again. Then, I got Atlanta (Hawks) and Memphis (Grizzlies). I got like 18 workouts. That’s great because that’s 18 opportunities to prove myself and show what I can do in an NBA setting.
“You know coming from Philly you’re very fortunate. That’s one thing I’ll say I’m blessed to be in a position coming from Syracuse. Now, I have a chance to do something that I dream of doing with my life and that’s playing basketball.”
Jardine has been watching a lot of the NBA playoffs, getting a feel for the pro game.
“That’s my job,” he said. “I want to learn and improve my game. You can improve by watching the best players in the world. I’ve been watching the point guards. (Rajon) Rondo (Boston Celtics [point guard) is at the top. I think he’s one of the best in the league. He’s a tough check. I’m trying to learn how to guard him before I get there.”
Jardine has been learning from a pretty good guard from Philly. Jerome “Pooh” Richardson, former Ben Franklin High and UCLA star, who played 11 NBA seasons, has been helping him out. He’s working out with him in Calabasas, Calif.
“I’m training with Pooh Richardson,” Jardine said. “It’s like a dream come true for myself also being from South Philly. He’s from Philly, a guy I always hear about. A guy I always looked up to and a guy who made it out of Philly. To go out there and pick his brain and work out is the best thing that could have happened to me. He’s really been a big brother to me since I’ve been out there. He played in the NBA 11 years. He knows what it takes. He knows the ins and outs of it. I think I’m in the same position. I just want to go in there and prove what I can do.”
NOTES: Jardine and Kentucky star Doron Lamb worked out for the Sixers on Sunday. Jardine’s grandfather is Isaiah Wilson, who played in the NBA for the Detroit Pistons and in the ABA for Memphis.
PHILADELPHIA — Andre Iguodala snapped a tie game with five straight points in the final 90 seconds to help the Philadelphia 76ers storm back from 15 points down in the first half and stun the Boston Celtics 92-83 on Friday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals.
The young Sixers were a team reborn in the second half and played like a squad that refused to roll over for the championship-tested Celtics.
"I don't even know where to start," Philadelphia coach Doug Collins said. "Our guys are pretty amazing. They really are."
The Sixers tied the series at 2-2 with the huge comeback and guaranteed a return home for one more game.
Iguodala, one of the more maligned athletes in recent Philadelphia history, put the Sixers ahead 85-83 with a step-back jumper and buried a 3-pointer for a five-point lead.
Game 5 is Monday in Boston.
Iguodala scored 16 points, Evan Turner had 16 and Lou Williams added 15.
Kevin Garnett had his first bad outing in an otherwise monster series with nine points. With Garnett in a funk, so were the Celtics.
The Sixers just kept attacking, turning a first half of airballs, botched dunks and sloppy defense into a full-blown display of near-flawless basketball.
Thaddeus Young's thunderous slam tied the game at 63 in the middle of the fourth. And when Jodie Meeks drained a 3-pointer on the Sixers' next trip down the court for Philadelphia's first lead 20,000 fans stomped their feet and unleashed two hours of pent-up jubilation.
Williams hounded Paul Pierce and forced a turnover, fed the ball to a streaking Turner for a dunk and put the lead at 68-65.
It was that kind of hustle that brought the Sixers back.
After Garnett blocked a Lavoy Allen shot, Young snagged the ball out of the air and score to make it 74-all.
Game 4 came down to young legs, fresh enthusiasm and untested big-game experience vs. aging, championship-tested stars fighting for another title.
Give the edge to the Sixers.
Iguodala, who has been branded as the face of a mediocre franchise over his eight seasons, has changed that talk with a clutch postseason. He sank the winning free throws in Game 6 to finish off the top-seeded Chicago Bulls in the first round.
And it was Iguodala who finished off the Celtics in Game 4.
Pierce had 24 points and Rajon Rondo had 15 points and 15 assists. Garnett, who turns 36 on Saturday, missed nine of 12 shots. The Celtics look primed for a blowout victory after the first 10 minutes of the game. They hold out hope a trip back to Boston can make them forget about this collapse.
"Coming out of halftime they came out more physical, and we got into that instead of playing basketball. We lost our composure," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said.
Philadelphia CEO Adam Aron tweeted at the break, "This will have to be one of the best come backs ever for the (at)Sixers."
Down 15 at the half, the under-25 crew found their spark, their legs and their shooting touch to crank up the pressure on the Celtics.
Williams hit a 3, Iguodala hit a 3, and Williams converted a three-point play to make it 58-54. Williams stood on the free-throw line with the widest smile of anyone in the building and calmly sank the deficit-slicing free throw.
Meeks, a starter-turned-sub, stole an errant pass and went all the way for his first bucket of the game to make it 63-59 at the end of the quarter.
Philadelphia's 10 baskets in the third were one more than their total for the entire half and their 28 points were three shy off their halftime total.
"We're just going to keep fighting," Collins said. "That's what we do."
The Sixers had vowed they would be a more determined team after the veteran Celtics dismantled and demoralized them on their home court in Game 3.
The Sixers said after their 16-point loss in Game 3 that they would return more focused in preventing another hot Celtics start that took them out of the game and sucked the atmosphere out of the Wells Fargo Center.
The Celtics squashed that attitude before thousands of fans had taken their seats moments after the opening tip.
Pierce and Avery Bradley hit 3-pointers, Garnett hit a pull-up 20-footer and the Celtics raced to a 14-0 lead only 3½ minutes into the game.
The Sixers truly couldn't find their footing. Young bounced the ball off his sneaker on a drive down the lane, and Pierce converted on the other end for an 18-3 lead.
The Celtics could never find that extra scoring boost to truly put away the Sixers. Rondo, Garnett and Ray Allen all had quiet first 24 minutes and the Celtics let the lead drop to seven.
Rondo scored an uncontested bucket coming out of a timeout to end the half and put the Celtics up 46-31.
"That was probably the worst we could shoot," Iguodala said. "They were playing as good as they could play and we were shooting poorly."
Notes: The 76ers head to Boston 2-8 over their last 10 road postseason games. ... The Sixers haven't won a playoff series when they trailed 2-1 since 2001. -- (AP)
You want a Game 7? Well, now you have one. The Philadelphia 76ers will face the Boston Celtics on Saturday, May 26 at TD Garden in Boston. The Sixers are coming off an impressive 82-75 victory over the Celtics in Game 6 to tie the series at 3-3.
There’s nothing like a seven game series. The last time the Sixers played a seven game series was in 2001 when they defeated the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Sixers have had some classic seven game playoff series with the Celtics. The history goes back 44 years when the Sixers surrendered a 3-1 deficit to lose to the Celtics in seven games. In 1981, Boston defeated Philly in seven games. The Sixers also gave up a 3-1 series to lose in the playoffs.
But the Sixers have beaten the Celtics in some memorable seven games. In 1977, they defeated the Celtics 83-77 in the final game of the best of seven series at The Spectrum in Philadelphia. Doug Collins, Sixers head coach, was a member of that team. Collins played with Julius Erving, George McGinnis, Lloyd (World B.) Free, Henry Bibby, Caldwell Jones, Darryl Dawkins, Joe Bryant and Steve Mix.
“They were a very talented team that year,” Collins said. “They beat us in Game 1. We went in and beat them in Game 3. It was one of the hottest nights in Boston Garden. I think I dropped 15 pounds of fluid that night chasing (John) Havlicek. I didn’t have a lot of fluids. We came back in Game 7. It was an ugly, ugly game. We had World. He was racking them up that game. He got about 28 shots up that game. It was all good. That was the year we went to the Finals.”
In 1982, the Sixers were on the verge of losing another 3-1 lead in the series, but went into the Boston Garden and came away with a 120-106 victory over the Celtics. The Sixers had a great team featuring Erving, Andrew Toney, Maurice Cheeks, Bobby Jones, Dawkins and Caldwell Jones. After the big win over the Celtics, the Sixers lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games in the NBA Finals.
This is a new Game 7 coming up. It’s a chance for Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand, Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner, Jrue Holiday, Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young to be a part of history. If they can get past the Celtics in a series where Boston was heavily favored, these players will place themselves in a special category. The Celtics will lean on Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Rajon Rondo and Brandon Bass to pull off another big win at home.
The home team is usually the favorite in these games. But there’s no guarantee. Three weeks ago, the Los Angeles Clippers popped the Memphis Grizzlies in a seventh game in Memphis. Collins just wanted to get his team to a seventh game after going down 3-2 in the series.
“We wanted to win tonight and give ourselves a chance to go into Boston and see what happens on Saturday in Game 7,” Collins said after Wednesday’s victory.
Collins doesn’t plan to just show up for the game. He wants to win. He’s not looking at moral victories.
“I want more,” he said. “We’re going to get greedy and we want more. We’ve fought. We’ve worked and gone through a lot as a team. We’ve grown. Our mindset is that I don’t want to go into that with no matter what happens everything is okay. I want to go with the idea of let’s see what we can do. Let’s see if we can go get us a win.”
Every playoff game has significance. But when the Philadelphia 76ers host the Boston Celtics at the Wells Fargo Center in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series on Friday night (8 p.m. ESPN), May 18, this will be a huge game for the Sixers.
After crushing the Sixers, 107-91, in Game 3, the Celtics have a 2-1 lead in the series. The Sixers will need to bounce back from their worst performance in the postseason. They can’t afford to dig themselves a big hole with another loss. The Celtics didn’t show their age in the last game. They exhibited great poise and playoff experience.
“This was a team (Boston Celtics) you could see coming in that did not want to be down 2-1 playing Game 4,” said Doug Collins, Sixers head coach. “They’ve been in these kinds of games. They know how important this swing game is to get that home court back and they played great.”
Boston has the home court advantage now in the series. After Friday’s game, the series will move to Boston for Game 5 on Monday, May 21. The Celtics played like they knew what time of year it is. Paul Pierce scored 24 points for the Celtics, but his two consecutive dunks in the first half let you know Boston wasn’t going anywhere.
The Celtics are an older team. There’s no question about that. Pierce is 34 years old. Ray Allen is 36. Kevin Garnett is 35. But they’ve all won an NBA championship. The Celtics won the NBA title in 2008. They also played for the league crown in 2010 before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers in seven games. Although they don’t move as quickly as they used to on the floor, you can’t overlook the experience factor either.
This is a new territory for the Sixers. They’re still getting a feel for the postseason. It’s still a learning experience for them. The team is so young: Jrue Holiday, 21; Evan Turner, 23; Thaddeus Young, 23; Spencer Hawes, 24 and Lou Williams, 25. Lavoy Allen, Sixers rookie power forward from Temple, is 23. The Sixers most experienced players in the rotation are Andre Iguodala, 28 and Elton Brand, 33.
“I told our guys the NBA playoffs is about the ebb and flow of emotion,” Collins said. “I broadcasted a game in the NBA Finals in the United Center. It was Game 4, the Utah Jazz lost by about 50 to the (Chicago) Bulls. The Bulls were going to close out and win a championship at home in Game 5. Utah beat them and had to go to Game 6.
“That’s what the playoffs are about, the highs and lows. You have to navigate that. This is a new experience for us. Boston has been through that. They’ve been through losing home court and going and winning. This is all new for us. This is good that we’re going through this and we’re learning from this. Hopefully, we’re going to be a lot better in Game 4.”
The Sixers need to revisit what they did in the first two games of the series. It starts at the defensive end. The Sixers have to force some turnovers and get out in the open court where they can use their quickness.
They also have to do a better job of keeping Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo out of the lane. Rondo had a monster game tallying 23 points and 14 assists and just one turnover. His play opened things up for Pierce and Garnett, who had 27 points and 13 rebounds. The Sixers lone bright spots were Young who had 22 points and five rebounds off the bench and Holiday who chipped in with 15 points, nine assists and six rebounds.
This game should be very interesting. When a team is blown out in the playoffs, they usually come out with a lot of energy the next game. The first two games of this series were decided by one point with both teams grabbing a win. If this contest brings that kind of intensity, it should be another close game.