Philadelphia 76ers Stat Monkey Brief: Sixers/Celtics (12/7/12)

The Celtics spent the offseason getting big, and that could pose problems for the smaller Sixers.

One of the oldest rivalries in basketball will be renewed when the Celtics and Sixers step on the court Friday night. After meeting in last year’s playoffs, both teams had a good bit of roster shake up. Meeting for the second time this season, some issues remain the same for these revamped lineups, while the Sixers are presented with some new challenges.

Crash the glass

As Michael Ruemmele has touched on, the Celtics are notoriously bad at rebounding the ball on the offensive end of the floor. They sit dead last in the league in offensive rebound rate, grabbing only 18.8 percent of their misses. The Sixers are solid when it comes to defensive rebounding, ranking 10th in the league with 73.1 percent defensive rebounding rate.

The Sixers’ will face nearly as difficult a task as the Celtics when it comes to the offensive glass, however. Boston ranks fifth in the league in defensive rebounding, while the Sixers only rebound 24.1 percent of their misses. Even while lacking a dominant rebounder, Philadelphia corralled 55.1 percent of available rebounds in their first matchup with Boston. That number is similar to what the Sixers did against the Celtics in last year’s regular season - in winning two of three games, Philly came down with 56.5 percent of available rebounds. In their second round playoff matchup, Boston upped their rebounding to grab just over 49 percent of available boards while eking out the series win in seven games.

Getting big

The 2011-12 Celtics were extremely thin up front; this year, they’ve patched up that area with Jared Sullinger, Chris Wilcox and Jeff Green. The Celtics have found ways to get Green, considered a tweener for most of his career, onto the court with two other big men to punish opponents. In fact, the lineup that’s gotten the second most run for the Celtics features Kevin Garnett alongside Green and Sullinger in the front court.

While results have been somewhat of a wash - that lineup both scores and gives up 1.08 points per possession - those bigger lineups could pose a problem for Philadelphia. The Sixers’ top nine units in terms of floor time per all feature Thaddeus Young at the power forward slot, and number 10 on that list has Young in the middle. While they’ve been very good defensively all season, only one of those nine most frequent lineups rebounds at a rate above that magic 55 percent mark that seems to be the benchmark for Sixers’ wins against Boston.