Tip: 7:30pm Court: TD Garden Watch it: CSN Hear it: WEEI
Referees: Ed Malloy, Matt Boland, Brian Forte
The C's started slow and absolutely sucked in the fourth quarter of an 89-86 loss in Philly less than a month ago. The C's were led by Jeff Green off the bench with 18 points. Nenad Krstic led all starters with 16. 5 players scored in double figures for Philly
Get it to: Kevin Garnett
He was on fire against Detroit… he's rested… and I think he wants to lay some wood down early on these guys. Establish KG early and let him dictate the offense. I'll bet KG can get 5 or 6 assists tonight feeding Ray Allen… who is 1A on the "get it to" list tonight.
Gotta stop: Andre Iguodala
He's banged up, but he's expected to play. And when he's on the floor, he expects to the go-to guy. But against the C's this year, he's shooting 33% (vs. his season average 44.6%). But his assists are above his season average so the C's need to keep playing him how they've been playing him while limiting his teammates' involvement. Warning: This might render Paul Pierce ineffective on the offensive end. The C's need to pick up the slack for him offensively.
The Wild Card: Jermaine O'Neal
With no Shaq and a questionable Krstic, Jermaine's gotta hold it down in the post. I've liked what I've seen so far… so it's up to him to keep this going. I want to see Jermaine on the boards, along with KG, to limit Philly to one shot and that's it. If he can do that, this will be easier than all the other Philly games this year. Wild Card 1A: Jeff Green… who can help the C's win easily if he's aggressive like he said he would be.
How we see it goin' down
Philly is banged up. Lou Williams is out, and Iggy & Elton Brand are less than 100%. And they're a terrible road team. Williams has been a spark for Philly against the C's this year (12 points, 2.3 assists per game) and not having him out there will hurt.
This is also, potentially, the C's first round opponent. And the Celtics know that. So it's time for the C's to start sending messages to potential playoff matchups.
Tonight the C's, after a practice to start getting things together, come out strong. They will, however, lapse back into their bad habits and this game will become unecessarily close… until the second half where they turn it on again and pull away. Despite the history of tight games this season… the C's win this one by at least 12.