Celtics (27-11) vs Mavericks (26-14)
Game time: 8pm, TD Garden. TV – CSN, TNT. Radio – WEEI (850).
Bos: Pierce – 18.4 Mavs: Dirk Nowitzki – 25.2
Bos: Perkins – 8.2 Mavs: Eric Dampier – 9.0
Bos: Rondo – 9.7 Mavs: Jason Kidd – 8.9
Who'll go off: Rajon Rondo. In two games last season, Rondo averaged a triple-double against the Mavericks: 16 points, 14 assists, 11 rebounds. Dallas might have J.J. Barea (SG) guard Rondo, because the aging Jason Kidd simply won't stay in front of him.
Who needs to be stopped: Dirk Nowitzki has career averages of 27 points, 9 rebounds vs Boston. The return of Sheed will help, but Shelden Williams and/or Glen Davis will have their hands full with Dirty Dirk.
The C's will lose if… they don't play smart on offense. Dallas is a better defensive team than you think, giving up 98 ppg while holding teams to 44% shooting. The Cs need to make the extra passes and not get into a jump shooting competition vs the Mavs.
Miscellaneous: Jason Terry is averaging 16 points off the bench. The Mavs have lost 3 of 4 including a 110-88 thrashing at the hands of Toronto Sunday. Josh Howard has gone 5-for-26 from the field in the last two games.
Prediction: Celtics 108 – Mavericks 101