Celtics (41-15) at Los Angeles Clippers (21-38)
Game Time: 10:30 PM, Staples Center. TV: CSN Radio: WEEI
Boston: Paul Pierce (18.9 ppg) Los Angeles: Eric Gordon (24.1 ppg)
Boston: Kevin Garnett (9.1 rpg) Los Angeles: Blake Griffin (12.5 rpg)
Boston: Rajon Rondo (12.2 apg) Los Angeles: Eric Gordon (4.5 apg)
Who'll go off: Rajon Rondo
After the trade with Cleveland, Mo Williams will be matched up against Rajon for a good chunk of the night if he can get cleared to play in time. Rondo typically does pretty well against him. He's dropped double digit assists in 7 of the last 10 games against him and he's averaging 17 points in his last 6 matchups with Mo Gotti.
If it's not Mo, then it'll be rookie Eric Bledsoe on Rajon. He's super-quick, but so is Rondo… and Rondo's got more tricks up his sleeve. I like Rondo against the rookie any day. Rondo's also averaging 15.6 ppg against the Clips… his highest average against any one opponent. Expect a switch to go off in Rajon's head tonight.
Who needs to be stopped: Blake Griffin
The C's got really lucky in this one because Eric Gordon is out with a wrist injury. Gordon is having an amazing season for the Clips… perhaps one of the quietest great seasons in the NBA. That's because Griffin is overshadowing him.
Griffin can do more than dunk, folks. He's averaging 22.8 ppg and 12.5 rpg. He's had only 10 games in which he hasn't gotten a double-double. And while most of his shots DO come at the rim (or from about about a foot or two above the rim, to be exact), he does take, and make, shots from further out. But if they can cut off his path to the hoop and make him take more jumpers than usual, they'll be in good shape. He's shooting less than 34% from 10-15 feet. Keep him in that range a majority of the game and you'll be ok.
The C's will lose if: The news guys can't pitch in
Let's face it, Jeff Green and Nenad Krstic have to give this team something tonight. Krstic will just have to pull a Semih Erden out there and just keep his hands ready for open passes at all times. Guys won't be shy about passing him the ball… but he's just got to be ready for it. And Green needs to come off the bench and hit shots. He'll be nowhere near ready to be a fluid part of the offense, but he's just got to play his game, get comfortable, and hit some shots. I would expect him to get in there with Rondo a bunch so he can be set up a lot more than creating his own shot. If I were Doc, I'd find a way to get him in there with a few of the starters early just so he can feed off them and get comfortable. If these guys have bad games, then this might be a tough one to watch.
Miscellany: The Clippers have won 9 of their last 10 home games. The Celtics have lost their last two road games at the Clippers, but played once without KG and once without Pierce.
Prediction: The C's begin the process of moving on without Perk. The emotional shock of it all is gone, and the team is now focused on getting the new guys in. With their own selfish goals of adding rings to the resume, the Big 3 will not let a couple of trades stand in their way. Tonight, they take advantage of a mediocre (albeit exciting) team facing its own disarray after a trade and they win by double digits, 100-90
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