The Philadelphia 76ers and Boston Celtics are both outside the playoff picture and dealing with injuries to their leading scorers, but they're handling those situations very differently.
The 76ers look to continue their strong play as they visit the slumping Boston Celtics on Wednesday in the fourth and final meeting between the Atlantic Division rivals.
Philadelphia (32-45) has won back-to-back games, including a 90-86 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, and is 14-7 since Feb. 26. The Sixers held the Pacers to 32.7 percent shooting and have limited four of their last six opponents to 90 or fewer points.
That stretch began with an 88-82 win over the Celtics (23-54) on March 30, which helped Philadelphia take a 2-1 lead in the season series. The Sixers will try to win the series without Andre Iguodala, who is expected to miss his second straight game with a strained lower back.
Philadelphia's leading scorer will visit a doctor on Wednesday morning, and coach Maurice Cheeks said Iguodala -- who averages 18.3 points -- won't travel with the team to Boston. The Sixers were also without reserves Kyle Korver (sprained wrist) and Rodney Carney (sprained knee) on Tuesday.
Andre Miller picked up some of the slack, totaling 19 points and 11 assists while fellow starter Samuel Dalembert also notched a double-double. But the biggest contributions came off the bench as Louis Williams scored a career-high 18 points and Joe Smith added 17 and 11 rebounds.
"We're just trying to finish up strong this season, and gain some momentum for next year," said Williams, who is averaging 3.6 points.
The Celtics certainly aren't finishing strong as they have dropped four straight games, including a 104-96 defeat to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday. Boston played without its top three scorers as Paul Pierce, Al Jefferson and Wally Szczerbiak were all sidelined with injuries. Pierce, who leads Boston with 25.0 points per game, is day-to-day with a sore left elbow that has sidelined him the last six games.
Jefferson hasn't played the last four contests due to a bruised left knee, and Szczerbiak is out for the season with an ankle injury. Gerald Green stepped up with a career-high 33 points on Tuesday, making 12 of 22 shots overall and 4 of 5 from 3-point range.
"We got something out of this, but obviously we didn't get a win out of it," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, whose team owns the Eastern Conference's worst record. "We were trying to get something out of Gerald Green. We basically made him our go-to guy tonight."
Green is averaging 14.3 points and shooting 50.0 percent in his last four meetings with the Sixers. Leon Powe added 19 points off the bench for Boston on Tuesday while starting guard Rajon Rondo contributed 16 while going 8-for-11 from the field.
The Celtics allowed the Hawks to shoot 60.3 percent, though, and are 3-22 when opponents shoot 50 percent or better.