at Boston Celtics (10-10) at New Orleans Pelicans (10-10)
Monday, November 26, 2018
8:00 PM EST
Regular Season Game #21 – Road Game #13
TV: NBCSB, FSNO, NBA-LP 751(DTV)/753(Xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub, WRNO 99.5
Smoothie King CenterProbable Starters Point Guard
Kyrie Irving Shooting Guard
Jayson TatumPower Forward
Al Horford Center
Aron Baynes Celtics Reserves
Jaylen BrownTwo Way Players
Walt Lemon, Jr.
P. J. Dozier Head Coach
Brad Stevens Probable Starters
Jrue Holiday Shooting Guard
E'Twaun MooreSmall Forward
Wesley Johnson Power Forward
Anthony DavisPelicans Reserves
Elfrid Payton 2 Way Players
Kenrich WilliamsHead Coach
Alvin GentryGame Notes
The Celtics head to New Orleans to take on the Pelicans and finish up their quick three games in four nights road trip. Boston is 1-1 on the trip, winning in Atlanta before allowing Dallas to shoot themselves to a 113-104 win. The Celtics have lost 8 of their last 12 games, falling to 7th in the Eastern Conference. The Pelicans have lost three in a row coming off a three game road trip and will hope for some good home cooking. New Orleans comes into the game is also 10-10 and have lost 10 of their last 16 games. Both teams desperately need this game to stay above .500. New Orleans is coming off two poor performances against two rather bad teams in the Knicks and Wizards.
Anthony Davis returns to the Pelicans lineup tonight after missing his last game with a sore hip. Davis is having his usual All-NBA type season with amazing per game stats of 27 points, 12.6 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 2.7 blocks, 1.5 steals in a league leading 37.4 minutes. Davis is human, however, as he is putting up some of the lowest shooting percentages in his career. Pelicans' point guard, Jrue Holiday, is building upon his exceptional playoff run last year, having a career year with 20 PPG, 4.4 RPG and 9.3 APG which is 3rd best in the league. Holiday is having an atrocious three point shooting year. New Orleans is a very top heavy team, getting huge contributions from their excellent power forward combo of Nikola Mirotic(19.1 PPG, 10.6 RPG) and Julius Randle(18.1 PPG, 9 RPG) and sharpshooter and former Celtic, E'Twaun Moore(16.1 PPG, 46.6% 3FG%). The rest of the Pelicans team is very thin.
This game will pit the Celtics 2nd best in the NBA defense versus the 2nd best in the league Pelicans offense. The Pelicans push the pace(6th fastest in NBA), crash the offensive boards(4th best) and control the boards in most games(4th best). New Orleans is the best team in the league at scoring in the paint and 2nd in the league on 2nd chances points. The Pels don't run much and prefer the half court game where they are extremely efficient at putting up points. New Orleans Achilles heel is their defense. The Pelicans give up the 3rd most points per game in the league and have the overall 4th worse defense. You would think with Anthony Davis patrolling the paint that New Orleans would control the paint inside but they give up the 2nd most points in the paint. The Pelicans are also susceptible to the three as teams take a lot of three pointers against them because New Orleans gives up the third worst 3FG% in the league.
Jaylen Brown is due to miss tonight's game after his nasty fall at the end of the Mavericks game. I slotted in Marcus Smart into the starting lineup but as Coach Stevens is want to do, he could change the lineup around in a different manner just before game time. The keys to a Celtic win are very much the same as they have been all season: get out to a faster start, don't fall way behind in the first half, attack the paint to create open looks, finish better at the rim, hit those open looks and bring it defensively with a 48 minute effort. Davis can not be contained, all the Celtics can do is make it difficult on him and not allow him free access to the rim. The Celtics are also going to need everyone to crash the defensive boards and keep New Orleans from getting easy, second chance points. The Celtics are going to need for Baynes, Horford, Morris, Theis and Semi to have as good a defensive night as possible to limit the high scoring Pelican front court. Though the Pels don't shoot a lot of threes they do have three excellent long distance shooters in Moore, Wesley Johnson and Darius Miller. Boston will have to have a much better effort defending the three than they had last game to prevent easy, open threes that killed them against Dallas. Here's hoping for a full game effort and winning a tough road game to turn their season around.