at Phoenix Suns (31-27) at Boston Celtics (43-15)
Wednesday, March 2
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #59, Home Game #31
TV: CSN-NE, TheScore, KUTP, NBA-LP 757
Radio: WEEI, KTAR
TD Garden Probable Starting Lineup PG:
Rajon Rondo 10.7 PPG 12.1 APG 2.3 SPGSG:
Ray Allen 17.3 PPG 2.8 APG .452 3P%C:
Nenad Krstic 7.6 PPG 4.4 RPG 0.4 BPG SF:
Paul Pierce 18.9 PPG 5.0 RPG 3.2 APGPF:
Kevin Garnett 15.1 PPG 9.2 RPG 0.8 BPGBoston Bench Mob
Jermaine O'Neal (knee) out
Delonte West (ankle) day to day
Shaquille O'Neal (hip) day to day Incoming
Troy Murphy Probable Starting Lineup PG:
Steve Nash 16.4 PPG 11.4 APG 0.7 SPG SG:
Vince Carter 14.2 PPG 2.2 APG .360 3P% C:
Robin Lopez 7.9 PPG 3.6 RPG 0.7 BPG SF:
Grant Hill 13.8 PPG 4.6 RPG 2.5 APG PF:
Channing Frye 12.3 PPG 6.5 RPG 1.0 BPG Suns Reserves
Ganai Lawal (knee) out Team Connections
Grant Hill played for Doc Rivers in Orlando from 2000‐04
Von Wafer and Channing Frye were teammates in Portland during the 2007‐08 season
Shaquille O’Neal played for Phoenix during the 2008‐09 season and part of the 2007‐08 season.
The Celtics are home after a successful but difficult road trip. They went 3-1 on the trip with the only loss an undermanned game in Denver after learning their teammates had been traded. This will be the home crowd's first look at Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic and possibly Troy Murphy as well.
The Suns have won 3 straight games vs the Celtics which is the longest active win streak against them by one opponent. They are 4-3 against the Celtics in the Big 3 era, joining the Orlando Magic as the only teams with winning records against them since 2007.
The Celtics lost the first game this season in Phoenix. It was the second of a back to back set and they didn't get into their hotel until 4:30 in the morning that day. Both teams had Tuesday off and both are coming off a win on Monday.
While there isn't an actual rivalry between 'these two teams they will forever be linked by Game 5 of the 1976 Finals when Boston won a very memorable 3 overtime game in Boston 128-126. It was an instant classic and will always come up in conversations on the best playoff games ever.
The Celtics are still trying to work in the new players and come to grips with the loss of their teammates. They are back home now and that should make it a little easier. The first game home after a road trip is always tough, though. The Celtics should be looking to avenge their earlier loss to the Suns and hopefully that extra motivation along with the home crowd boost should help the Celtics come out on top in this one. Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Steve Nash
Rondo usually gets up for battles with the top PG's and now he gets a chance to show what he can do against the 2 time MVP Steve Nash. He should have a speed advantage over Nash, but he will have to work on the defensive end as Nash can burn you from anywhere on the floor if you give him a step. Rondo needs to be aggressive and set the tempo for the game.
Kevin Garnett vs Channing Frye
In the first meeting between these two teams, Frye did a great acting job when KG hit him below the belt, falling to the floor in agony before jumping up a second later and going at KG. For his efforts, KG was ejected from the game so this time it's personal. I'm expecting KG to have an extra chip on his shoulder to win this one. Honorable Mention
Glen Davis vs Marcin Gortat
In the last game Gortat was the player of the game for the Suns with 19 points and 17 rebounds off the bench. Big Baby has to work on defense to prevent Gortat from having another career game in this one. Keys to the GameDefense
- This is the key to every win this season and to a championship as well. If they try to play defense in spurts in this game they will probably lose because the Suns can put points up in a hurry if you let down your guard. The Celtics need to especially guard the perimeter as the Suns are a dangerous 3 point shooting team. Ball Movement
- The Celtics need to move the ball and find the open man in order to stretch the Suns weak defenses. They also need to try to get the ball into the paint and not just settle for jumpers. If they get the ball into the post they will be able to score, draw the foul or kick out for an open jumper. Hero ball doesn't win games, team ball does.
Crash the Boards
- The Celtics must make an effort to grab rebounds, especially on the offensive end, in this game. By grabbing offensive rebounds it will prevent the Suns from getting out on the break. Rebounding is mostly desire and effort and the team that wants it most will win the rebounding battle. Play 48 Minutes
- The Celtics must play hard for 48 minutes. They can't let up if they get a lead and they can't come out flat and play catch up the rest of the game. The Celtics have to be the more aggressive team and attack from start to finish. X-Factors
Home Court and Focus
The Celtics are finally back home and hopefully the home crowd can give them a lift to overcome the let down after a road trip. They have to focus and stay aggressive throughout the game.