at Charlotte Bobcats (15-21) at Boston Celtics (29-9)
Friday, January 14
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #39 Home Game #21
TV: CSN-NE, SSO-CHA, NBA-LP 756
Radio: WEEI, WPNZ
TD Garden Probable Starters PG SG SF PF C
Rajon Rondo.....Ray Allen ..... Paul Pierce.....Glen Davis..... Shaquille O'NealBoston Bench Mob
Kendrick Perkins (knee) out (but coming back soon!!!)
Delonte West (wrist) out
Kevin Garnett (calf) doubtful
Jermaine O'Neal (knee) out
Semih Erden (groin) questionable Probable StartersPG
DJ Augustin........Stephen Jackson....Gerald Wallace........Boris Diaw........Kwame Brown
Gerald Henderson Injuries
DeSagana Diop (Achilles) out
Nazr Mohammed (knee) out Team Connections
D.J. Augustin and Avery Bradley both attended the University of Texas
Matt Carroll and Luke Harangody both attended Notre Dame
Sherron Collins and Paul Pierce both attended the University of Kansas
Rajon Rondo and Nazr Mohammed both attended the University of Kentucky
Tyrus Thomas, Glen Davis and Shaquille O’Neal all attended Louisiana State
DeSagana Diop, Stephen Jackson and Rajon Rondo all attended Oak Hill Academy
Shaquille O’Neal and Boris Diaw were teammates in Phoenix during the 2008-09 season
Kwame Brown and Von Wafer were teammates on the 2005-06 Los Angeles Lakers
Shaun Livingston and Von Wafer were teammates on the 2006-07 Los Angeles Clippers
Eduardo Najera and Von Wafer were teammates in Denver during the 2007-08 season
Stephen Jackson and Jermaine O’Neal were teammates in Indiana from 2004-07
The Celtics and Bobcats share the Maine Red Claws as their D-League affiliate
Ray Allen vs Stephen Jackson
Jackson is the Bobcats' leading scorer and much of the offense goes through him. Ray has been on a hot streak and hopefully will stay that way in this one. He needs to make Jackson work on defense and Ray needs to limit Jackson's effectiveness on the offensive end. Ray also needs to take care of the ball as Jackson also leads the Bobcats in steals.
Rajon Rondo vs DJ Augustin
As Rondo goes, so go the Celtics. When Rondo is aggressive in running the team and playing his game, the Celtics as a team are more aggressive and tend to play well. When Rondo is passive, the Celtics tend to be also and that is when they get beaten by teams that they should beat. Augustin has benefited from the coaching change more than any other Bobcat. He is averaging 19.9 points and 7.1 assists in the 8 games since Silas took over for Larry Brown. Honorable Mention
Paul Pierce vs Gerald Wallace
Wallace is very athletic and leads the Bobcats in rebounding. He has given the Celtics problems in the past and hopefully Pierce will continue the focused and efficient play that we saw from him against the Kings.
This is the second meeting between these two teams. The Celtics dominated the first game, winning 93-62. But the Celtics shouldn't expect it to be as easy this time around. The Bobcats were struggling under Larry Brown but since Paul Silas took over, they have been off and running.
The Bobcats had lost 6 of 8 games before the coaching change and since that time they have won 6 of their last 8. They have a 4 game win streak and are coming off a 96-91 win over the Bulls. They are averaging 101 points per game during that streak and have cut their turnovers almost 4 per game over that time as well.
The Celtics bounced back with some inspired play against the Kings after lackluster performances in their previous 2 games. The Celtics can't afford to take the Bobcats for granted or they will get burned. Under Silas they are playing very well and they will use their athleticism to their advantage.
The Celtics are close to getting healthier but they may be very thin up front for this game. As of Thursday's practice, Doc was still ruling KG out for this one, even though he participated in half of practice. Jermaine O'Neal had another MRI and is considering surgery. And to make things worse, Semih Erden, who played very well against the Kings, sat out practice with a groin injury and is questionable for this one. If KG and Semih can't go, it will be up to Shaq, Big Baby and Luke Harangody to man the middle. We will see a lot of small ball out of necessity.
Both teams are 6-4 in their last 10 games. The Celtics are 17-3 at home while the Bobcats are 4-12 on the road. The Bobcats are looking for their 5th straight win while the Celtics are hoping to win their second straight game. With all their injuries, the Celtics will need to play hard and stay focused to have a chance at winning this one. Keys to the GameFocus and Energy
- This will be more important in this game with all the injuries to the front court. The Celtics have got to stay focused and play with energy the entire game as the margin of error will be very slim in this game. Defense -
The Celtics need to make defense their priority. They can't allow the absence of KG to be an excuse to slack off on the defensive end. Rebound -
Good things happen when the Celtics crash the boards. When they show energy in rebounding, that injury spreads to other areas of the game. They prevent second chance points and fast break baskets by grabbing the rebounds as well. Be Aggressive -
When the Celtics are the more aggressive team they usually win. They need to be aggressive in going to the basket, in grabbing rebounds, and in hustling after loose balls. X-Factor
The Celtics have been battling injuries for most of the season so far. They have been successful for the most part in filling in the blanks for the injured players. But at some point, the injuries may just be too much to overcome. There is light at the end of the tunnel, though with Perk about 3 weeks away and Delonte likely back after the All Star Break and KG expected back on Monday.