Tip: 8:00pm Court: New Orleans Arena Watch it: CSN Hear it: WEEI
Refs: Marc Davis, Courtney Kirkland, Tom Washington
|Record: 48-19 (1st Atlantic, 2nd East)||Record: 40-30 (3rd Southwest, 7th West)|
|On the Road: 19-13||At Home: 24-10|
|Streak: Lost 1||Streak: Won 1|
|Buckets: Pierce (18.6 ppg)||Buckets: David West (18.5 ppg)|
|Boards: KG (9.0 rpg)||Boards: Emeka Okafor (9.7 rpg)|
|Dimes: Rondo (11.6 apg)||Dimes: Chris Paul (9.7)|
|For the Stat Geeks||For the Stat Geeks|
|Offensive Rating: 106.7 (17th NBA)||Offensive Rating: 105.7 (21st NBA)|
|Defensive Rating: 99.9 (2nd NBA)||Defensive Rating: 103.7 (6th NBA)|
|Pace: 90.7 (21st NBA)||Pace: 89.0 (28th NBA)|
Playing without Rondo, KG, Delonte or Perk, the C's dropped an 83-81 game to the Hornets in the Garden. Glen Davis had a particularly bad game, shooting 4-14, taking a horribly ill-advised 3 (are any Baby 3's advised?) late in the game, and drawing the ire of Doc Rivers after the game.
Get it to: Ray Allen
Just looking at the matchups, Marco Belinelli seems to be the guy the C's can pick on. The Celtics need to get back to their offense. Let Ray run off two or three screens and get the ball in a decent spot for him to do something. The Celtics offense has been horrific lately. It's time to get back to their roots, run some good clean sets, and let Ray get hot.
Gotta stop: Chris Paul
Opposing point guards are killing us. And this guy is a pretty good point guard. If the C's can't stop Kyle Lowry, I'm not feeling great about their chances of "stopping" Chris Paul. But if the C's can cut off passing lanes and force Paul to be a shooter more than passer… then that's a step in the right direction. I'd rather see him score 30 with 6 assists than 18 with 15 assists. Keep the other guys on the team cold. New Orleans is a slow team that doesn't score a lot. If Paul is taking all the shots, then the other guys like David West and Carl Landry will start standing around and watching.
Wild Card: Rajon Rondo
This has become the "blatantly obvious" preview… but when your team is playing as terribly as the Celtics are right now, they need to do blatantly obvious things to get back on track. There's no fooling around with nuance here. Rajon Rondo makes this team go… and we all know what the running theme has been for him lately. If Rondo can rise up to the challenge of playing Chris Paul, disrupt him and play like Rondo, this game will be a 180 from what we saw last night. If Rondo continues to struggle… well….
How we see it goin' down:
I'd love to summon up some optimism, but I can't. The Celtics look terrible. And now they're playing in a back-to-back, and they've been absolutely horrendous in this situation.
I wish I could say an embarrassed C's team will come out and dominate and mean it. But in addition to other factors, the C's are not that good on the road, and New Orleans is really good at home. You've got two slow, defensive teams that don't score much, so don't expect a pretty game here. And with the C's in a back-to-back situation… expect a lot of turnovers.
This one has the potential to be a real stomach-churner. An ugly, low-scoring game with low field goal percentages and a bunch of turnovers. And considering the C's track record in these games, I'm marking them down for an 85-80 loss.