at Boston Celtics (46-16) at Philadelphia 76ers (33-31)
Friday, March 11
7:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #63, Road Game #30
TV: CSN-NE, CSN-P, NBA-LP 755
Radio: WEEI, WIP
Wells Fargo CenterProbable Starters PG: Rajon Rondo..................................................SG Ray Allen C: Nenad Krstic SF: Paul Pierce ................................. ............PF Kevin Garnett Coach:
Doc RiversBoston Bench Mob
Jermaine O'Neal (knee) out
Delonte West (ankle) out
Shaquille O'Neal (Achilles) out
Von Wafer (calf) out
Glen Davis (knee) day to day Probable Starters
PG: Jrue Holiday ......................................................SF: Jodie Meeks
C: Spencer Hawes
SF: Andre Iguodala .................................................. PF: Elton Brand Sixers Bench
None Key Matchups
Paul Pierce vs Andre Iguodala
Paul Pierce will need to work on the defensive end to keep Iguodala from having a big game offensively. In his last game, Iguodala let Kevin Durant go off for 34 points and 16 rebounds. If Pierce plays aggressively, he could be in for a big game.
Kevin Garnett vs Elton Brand
Brand had 13 points and 15 rebounds in his last game against the Thunder. KG had 16 points and 8 rebounds against the Clippers but was just 5-19 from the floor. Hopefully he can bounce back and have a big game in this one. With all the injuries to the bigs, KG needs to step up his game even more during his time on the court.
Rajon Rondo vs Jrue Holiday
Rondo has had a couple of very un-Rondo-like sub-par games recently. Holiday is a very good young point guard. On Wednesday he put up 22 points, 8 assists and 3 steals against Russell Westbook. Hopefully Rondo can snap back in this one as the Celtics need him on both ends of the floor if they want to get a win. Keys to the Game Defense
- The Celtics defense has slipped considerably with all the new players and the injuries. They must get back to making defense a priority and the new players have to get on the same page defensively or the Celtics could be in trouble. Rebound
- The Sixers are a good rebounding team and the Celtics have to put more effort into crashing the boards. The Celtics have to limit the Sixers' rebounds to prevent second chance baskets and tip ins. They also need to give themselves extra possessions, especially if they shoot as poorly as they did on Wednesday. Play 48 Minutes
- The Celtics came out very flat against the Clippers. They spotted them a 23 point lead before finally beginning to play hard but weren't able to overcome the hole that they had dug. They have had slow starts in several games recently and have also given up leads. They have to play 48 minutes and get away from slow starts and 4th quarter let downs. Bench Play
- With 5 players out, the Celtics bench consists of 5 players who never played together before this week. They seem to be struggling to find chemistry. Hopefully Doc will keep at least one starter on the court with the new guys because the unit of 5 newbies together looked completely lost in the game vs the Clippers. Move the Ball
- The Celtics had just 21 assists compared to 28 for the Clippers. They are tough to beat when they move the ball and make the extra pass and find the open man. When the ball sticks and players abandon the team offense, they struggle. They have to trust each other and get back to playing as a team rather than as individuals. Game Notes
This is the 3rd meeting between these two divisional rivals. The Celtics are 2-0 against the Sixers this season so far, but both games were close. In the first game in Philly, it took a KG dunk on a lob pass from Rondo with 1.4 seconds left for a 102-101 victory. The second game was a 4 point come from behind victory that took 14 trips to the line in the final 12 minutes to pull out.
The Celtics are 19-10 on the road and 8-2 in their last 10 games. The Sixers are 21-11 at home and 7-3 in their last 10 games. Both teams are coming off a loss on Wednesday with the Celtics losing to the Clippers and the Sixers losing to the Thunder.
The Celtics are still short handed, especially in the front line, with Shaq, Jermaine and Von Wafer all expected to be out for awhile and Big Baby and Delonte not expected back until at least Sunday.
The Sixers are at full strength with no injuries reported.
The Celtics have a second unit that had never played together before this week. While some of the players are getting more accustomed to the Celtics system, they are still a long way from developing the kind of chemistry the Celtics had before the trade deadline. Hopefully Doc doesn't put all 5 on the court together like he did against the Clippers.
The Celtics need a better effort than we saw from them in their last game. The Bulls are just 1.5 games back of the Celtics and are playing their best basketball of the season. They also have a fairly easy schedule remaining. If the Celtics want to hold on to home court they have to put fort better effort and win the games they should win. X-Factor
Focus and Chemistry
The Celtics need to focus on winning the games that they should win. They seem to get up for the big games but then lose focus against teams like the Clippers. They have to come out focused and play focused until the final buzzer. They also have to try to get some chemistry with the new players. It seems at times like they are playing as individuals and not as a team.