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NBA PLAYOFF CAPSULES

Eastern Conference Semifinals

May 05, 2003|Mark Heisler

Capsules by Mark Heisler; Research by Roy Jurgens

Statistics are from the regular season

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Philadelphia (4) vs. Detroit (1)

*--* Season series: Tied, 2-2 Series preview: The Pistons had one of those your-life-passes-in-front-of-you first rounds, falling behind Orlando, 3-1, as a Detroit Free Press columnist put the blame on Coach Rick Carlisle, before winning the last three. As the Magic showed, the Pistons have a hard time scoring, although Chauncey Billups stepped up at the end, scoring 77 in the last two games. The 76ers are still their junkyard dog selves, led by volatile geniuses Allen Iverson and Larry Brown. But when everything lines up right for them, as it does now, they're capable of beating anyone, in this conference, anyway. Like Orlando, the 76ers have a great player who'll put points on the board. Unlike the Magic, the 76ers have some size up front and they defend Key injuries: PHI: Samuel Dalembert (knee). DET: None Fast facts: Iverson has scored 20 or more points in 18 consecutive playoff appearances, including 11 games with 30 or more. Detroit's Ben Wallace became the sixth player to win the NBA defensive player of the year award in consecutive seasons, receiving 100 of a possible 117 first-place votes MATCHUPS PHI DET Points per game 96.8 91.4 Opp. points per game 94.5 87.7 Shooting % 44.8 43.0 Opp. shooting % 45.2 43.8 Total rebounds 42.2 40.6 Opp. total rebounds 40.3 41.3 Three-point % 31.1 35.8 Opp. three-point % 35.4 34.4 Free-throw % 77.5 77.1 Assists 21.6 19.8 Steals 10.3 6.8 Blocks 3.5 5.7 Prediction: 76ers, 4-2

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*--* Boston (6) vs. New Jersey (2) Season series: Nets, 3-1 Series preview: Despite their no-conscience, three-point offense, the Celtics have one interesting attribute -- the ability to come from far behind and/or make the other team choke. They did it to the Pacers in Game 1, coming from 16 down in the third quarter to win, shaking up the young Indiana players, who promptly fell apart. The Celtics did it against the Nets in last spring's Eastern Conference finals, coming from 26 behind in Game 3 to win and almost doing it again in Game 4, when they rallied from 15 down. But they're going against Jason Kidd again, not Jamaal Tinsley. Net Coach Byron Scott is keeping Dikembe Mutombo on the bench and staying small but that's OK against the Celtics, who are small too Key injuries: None Fast facts: The Celtics have lost six of their last seven games against New Jersey, including last year's East finals. Boston prevailed over Indiana despite being outrebounded by more than six boards a game MATCHUPS BOS NJ Points per game 92.7 95.4 Opp. points per game 93.1 90.1 Shooting % 41.5 44.1 Opp. shooting % 43.5 42.7 Total rebounds 40.5 42.9 Opp. total rebounds 45.0 41.4 Three-point % 33.4 33.2 Opp. three-point % 33.1 35.9 Free-throw % 74.2 75.7 Assists 19.2 23.0 Steals 8.8 8.7 Blocks 3.7 4.6 Prediction: The tandem of Paul Pierce and Antoine Walker is (too) fearless but the Nets' Kidd, Kenyon Martin and Richard Jefferson are good and a lot more sensible. New Jersey, 4-2

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