Run-and-gun time is here.
Two of the best fast breaking teams in basketball are ready to go today as the defending champion Boston Celtics take on the multitalented Philadelphia 76ers in one of the best matchups in the National Basketball Association playoffs.
The best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal series will begin in the Spectrum and then alternate between there and Boston Garden.
The 76ers with Julius (Dr. J) Erving, George McGinnis and Doug Collins are the oddsmakers' pick to win it all.
The Celtics have already done them a couple of favors.
Boston beat the San Antonio Spurs in their first-round series in two straight games.
Philadelphia wanted no part of the Spurs. San Antonio beat the 76ers three out of four games this season and made their look bad in the process.
In disposing of the Spurs so quickly the Celtics also reduced Philadelphia's layoff to only a week, so the 76ers should still be sharp.
The Celtics are hot. They have won five in a row overall and are in good shape physically.
Charlie Scott, back in form after missing 38 games with a broken arm, is a major difference. Dave Cowens is playing well.
The 76ers are the own worst enemies. The word around the NBA is that if the league held a one-on-one championship, 76ers players would finish first, second, third, fourth and fifth.
Their act is centered around Erving and McGinnis, and some other 76ers don't like it.
Where the Celtics run a controlled fast break, the 76ers like to get the ball and go. First come, first served.
Boston will play defense, the 76ers don't like to. When they have to play pattern basketball the 76ers are in trouble.
The 76ers' two best plays are "Doc come get it" and "Doc, go get it."
Philadelphia has depth, however, and has beaten the Celtics three of four meetings this season.
The 76ers have been saying all season that they were waiting for the playoffs to show their ability.
The 76ers are weak in the holding-onto-the-ball category. Only the Denver Nuggets lost the ball more times than the 76ers this season.
Boston's problem will be coverage of Erving.
Probably 37-year-old John Havlicek will get the assignment, while Curtis Rowe, or possibly even Cowans, gets the call on McGinnis.