at Boston Celtics (32-17) at New Orleans Hornets (27-25)
Wednesday, February 10
8:00 PM ET
Game #50, Road Game # 26
TV: NBA-TV, CST, CSN NE, RTV
New Orleans Arena Located in the Big Easy, the New Orleans Hornets returned to the New Orleans Arena permanently this season for the first time since the 2004-05 season. In the mid 1990s, the city decided to build a new arena adjacent to the New Orleans Superdome. Constructed at a cost of $84 million, the octagonal shaped building was completed in 1999. The first game played at the New Orleans Arena was a hockey game on October 29, 1999. NBA basketball returned to the city permanently when the Hornets moved to New Orleans and played their first game at the New Orleans Arena October 30, 2002. Although the building was less than five years old, the city spent $10 million upgrading the New Orleans Arena for the Hornets. Locker rooms were upgrade, additional luxury suites were added, and a courtside restaurant and team store were built. Because of the devastating events of Hurricane Katrina in August 2005, the Hornets moved their basketball operations to Oklahoma City and the Ford Center where they played the majority of their games for the next two seasons. Several games were held in New Orleans during the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons to show the team’s commitment to playing in the city. The New Orleans Arena suffered little structural damage after the hurricane because of its arched reinforced steel and concrete roof. The Hornets returned to New Orleans permanently for the 2007-08 season and the city hosted the 2008 NBA All-Star Game. ProbableStarters PG SG SF PF C
Rajon Rondo/ Ray Allen/ Paul Pierce/ Kevin Garnett/ Kendrick Perkins Reserves
Bill Walker Injuries
JR Giddens (knee) out
Paul Pierce (foot) questionable PGSG SF PF C
Darren Collison/ Mo Peterson/ Peja Stojakovic/ David West/ Emeka OkaforReserves
Sean Marks Injuries
Ike Diogu (knee) out
Chris Paul (knee) out
Marcus Thornton (back) questionable Team Connections
Hilton Armstrong, Emeka Okafor and Ray Allen are all former UConn Huskies
Julian Wright and Paul Pierce are former Kansas Jayhawks
Hornets Assistant Coach Paul Pressey was an assistant coach with the Celtics from 2004-06
Brian Scalabrine was coached by Byron Scott in New Jersey from 2001-05
Peja Stojakovic and Eddie House were teammates in Sacramento during the 2004-05 season
James Posey played for the Celtics during the 2007-08 season
Ike Diogu and Eddie House are former Arizona State Sun Devils
ke Diogu and Marquis Daniels were teammates in Indiana from 2006-08
Kevin Garnett vs David West
West is often the focal point of the Hornets offense without Chris Paul in the lineup and KG's defense will be needed in this game to try to keep him from going off on the Celtics.
Paul Pierce (or Tony Allen) vs Peja Stojakovic
Paul Pierce is questionable for this game, but I expect him to play because if he sits out, then Doc will probably recommend that he sit out the All Star game and 3 point contest. If by some miracle Doc gets Pierce to sit, Tony Allen will be guarding Stojakovic, who is deadly from beyond the arc. Whoever guards him must stay on him to prevent a 3 point barrage. Honorable Mention
Marquis Daniels vs James Posey
Past 6th man vs current 6th man. In his first game back from the thumb injury, Marquis looked great and the bench very much needs his leadership and energy. Game Notes
• The Celtics are currently leading the season series 1-0; Celtics swept the season series 2-0 against New Orleans in 2008-09
• Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 29.0 points per game last season
• David West led the Hornets with 19.0 points per game against the Celtics last season
• The Celtics are 8-3 against the Hornets since the 2004-05 season
• The Celtics are leading the all-time series 41-31 with the Celtics 20-16 at home
The Hornets are missing their best player and play maker as Chris Paul is out with the knee injury. The matchup between CP3 and Rondo was always a fun one to watch but Rondo should have a much easier time going against Darren Collison.
The Hornets started the season with high expectations but chemistry problems and injuries have derailed their season and continue to do so with the most recent injury to Chris Paul. The same can be said of the Celtics this season as they are trying to right the ship after several very disappointing losses.
Both of these teams are 5-5 in their last 10 games. The Celtics have won 3 of their last 4 games but are coming off a heartbreaking loss where they gave up an 11 point half time lead and completely collapsed in the 3rd quarter. The Hornets are also coming off a loss to the Magic. The Celtics are 17-8 on the road while the Hornets are 16-8 at home.
The Celtics are desperately seeking answers for their recent slide and need to start winning if they want to keep their hopes of Banner 18 this season alive. This game is a good place to start a new win streak. Keys to the GameDefense
The Celtics problems stem from their departure from playing tough team defense. They have been allowing too many easy baskets. When they lose defensive focus, they seem to unravel. They must get back to focusing on being the best defensive team in the league. Play 48 Minutes
The Celtics seem to play well for 3 quarters but they have one quarter in which they can do absolutely nothing. They must keep their focus for all 4 quarters. Run the Offense
The Celtics have to keep their focus on running the offense, making the extra pass and finding the open man. Individuals won't win games. Team will.