at Boston Celtics (20-17) at Philadelphia 76ers (22-17)
Wednesday, March 7
7:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #38, Road Game #15
TV: CSN-NE, CSN-P, NBA-LP 752
Radio: WEEI, WIP
Wells Fargo CenterProbable Starters PG: Rajon Rondo..................................................SG Ray Allen C: Kevin Garnett SF: Paul Pierce ................................. ............PF Brandon Bass Coach:
Doc RiversBoston Bench Mob
Chris Wilcox Injured
Jermaine O'Neal (wrist) out
Brandon Bass (ankle) expected to playProbable Starters
PG: Jrue Holiday ......................................................SG: Evan Turner
C: Nik Vucevic
SF: Andre Iguodala .................................................. PF: Elton Brand Sixers Bench
Jodie Meeks Injuries
Spencer Hawes (acholles) out 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. Pierce has been playing some of his best basketball of the season the past two games and the Celtics will need another big game from him in this one. Iguodala plays with a lot of energy and Pierce will need to keep up with him.
Rajon Rondo vs Jrue Holiday
After missing what could have been the game winning layup last night, I expect Rondo to play even harder in this game to try to make up for that blunder. Also, with the starters putting in big minutes in 2 OT games in a row, Rondo will need to pick up the slack should the other starters be slowed by fatigue.
Kevin Garnett vs Nikolas Vucevic
KG should be able to intimidate the rookie and hopefully will have a big game. He played over 37 minutes last night against the Rockets and hopefully that won't affect his play in this one. Keys to the Game Defense
- As always, defense is key to getting the win. The Celtics must play tough in your face defense from start to finish. They can't let themselves get caught up in a shoot out and must concentrate on getting stops. Rebound
- The Sixers are a good rebounding team, ranking 6th in the league at 43.3 rebounds per game. The Celtics, however are ranked 30th at 39.3 rpg. They were out rebounded by 19 vs the Sixers last night but managed to win the game. The Celtics have got to put out more effort on the boards as the team that wins the rebounding battle in this game will more than likely win the war. The Celtics have to limit the Sixers' rebounds to prevent second chance baskets and tip ins. Take Care of the Ball
- The Celtics tend to turn the ball over way too much. They are 8th in the league with 15.5 turnovers per game. The Sixers on the other hand turn the ball over the least in the league at 10.6 turnover per game. The Celtics must move the ball and find the open man without making sloppy passes and turning the ball over. Their ball movement can be a thing of beauty when they make that extra effort. Be Aggressive
- With the prospect of winning the division on the line, the Celtics should give nothing less than their absolute best effort. They need to be aggressive in going after loose balls, in defending, in rebounding and in taking the ball to the basket. They should aggressively go to the hoop and not depend on outside jumpers. Game Notes
This is the first of 3 meetings between these teams. Philly seemed to be poised to run away with the Atlantic division title before they hit a skid just before the All Star break. Now, they are just one game in front and the Celtics could pull even with a win in this game.
After losing 5 in a row, the Celtics have now won 5 games in a row. The Sixers have been slumping, having lost their last two games and they have won just 2 games out of their last 10. They are a good home team though with a 14-8 record while the Celtics have struggled on the road with just 5 wins out of 14 games.
The Sixers have had a day off while the Celtics played a tough overtime game last night with 3 of the starters playing over 40 minutes. This will be a big test for the Celtics as the schedule gets tougher starting now. They are going to be on the road for 9 of their next 10 games. 8 of those games will be against teams with a winning record. And there are 4 more back to back sets on this extended road trip. How they respond in this one will show a lot about this team.
With the prospect of moving into a tie for the division, the Celtics need to come out strong and give their best effort until the final buzzer. At the end of the night, they will either be tied for the lead in the Atlantic or 2 games back. I know which one I'm rooting for! X-Factor
Fatigue and the Road
The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games and they are embarking on a long stretch of road games. They haven't been particularly effective on the road so far this season and this would be a good time to start a winning streak on the road. Fatigue from playing an OT game the night before might be a factor. It will be a good time to prove that their age isn't going to stop them down the stretch.