By Spike Eskin

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Blame has been tossed evenly toward Doug Collins and Lou Williams for the Sixers collapse in the last few minutes of Saturday’s 92-91 loss, in the first of their best of seven series against the Celtics. There’s another factor involved that might make it tough for the Sixers to upset the Celtics in this series; talent.

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At the end of close games against the Chicago Bulls, the Sixers faced guys like Luol Deng, CJ Watson, Carlos Boozer and Omer Asik. Against Boston, they’re matching up against Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo. Old and injured or not, that’s quite a lineup.

When you’re facing players like the Celtics have, you can’t afford to have the breakdowns the Sixers did in the fourth quarter in game 1. Ill advised shots, questionable substitutions and turnovers made stealing game one more difficult than it should have been.

While the Sixers most likely won’t see another 29 point, 11 rebound performance from Kevin Garnett, it’s also unlikely that Paul Pierce will have another game where he shoots 3-11 from the floor.

The Sixers will need more from almost everyone, most notably Jrue Holiday, who shot 3-13, and Elton Brand who finished with just four points and two rebounds. Brand is nursing a neck and shoulder injury, but will be available for tonight’s game.

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Thaddeus Young, who sprained his ankle on Saturday, will be available for the Sixers.

The series returns to Philadelphia for game 3 on Wednesday night, and game 4 on Friday.

KYW’s Matt Leon interviewed Daily News/Inquirer Sixers beat reporter Bob Cooney about the game. Listen here:


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