at Boston Celtics (10-8) at Philadelphia 76ers (10-8)
Regular Season Game #19, Road Game #9
Friday, December 7
7:00 PM ET
TV: ESPN, CSNNE, CSN-P
Radio: WEEI, WPEN
Wells Fargo CenterProbable Starting Matchups Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Jrue Holiday Shooting Guard
Jason Terry vs Jason RichardsonSmall Forward
Paul Pierce vs Evan TurnerPower Forward
Brandon Bass vs Thaddeus Young Center
Kevin Garnett vs Lavoy AllenCeltics Reserves
Jason Collins Injuries
Avery Bradley (shoulders) out
Jared Sullinger (illness) probable
Leandro Barbosa (illness) probableD-League
Fab Melo Sixers Reserves
Kwame Brown Injuries
Andrew Bynum (knee) out
Royal Ivey (groin) doubtful
Nick Young (toe) questionable Game Notes
The Celtics start a home and home series with the Sixers in Philly as they seek to avenge their earlier losses to them. This is the second of 4 regular season games between these two Atlantic Division rivals. The Celtics lost twice to the Sixers in the preseason and then again at home in their first regular season meeting.
Things have not gone exactly the way the Sixers had planned when they traded Andre Iguodala for Andrew Bynum, who is expected to miss the entire season with knee problems. They have been inconsistent, however, just as the Celtics have been. They are 6-4 in their last 10 games while the Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10.
Both teams played their last game vs the Timberwolves. The Sixers lost to them 105-88 on Tuesday, while the Celtics beat them 104-94 on Wednesday. The Sixers are 6-5 at home while the Celtics are 4-4 on the road. While the teams have identical 10-8 records, the Sixers are in 3rd place in the Atlantic while the Celtics are in 4th place by virtue of their head to head record. They are both 3.5 games behind the Knicks, who are in first place in the division.
These teams will play each other again on Saturday in Boston. Back to Back wins against their Atlantic division foe would be a nice start on that 8 game win streak that Rondo was talking about. On the other hand, two losses would put them back at .500 and solidly in 4th place, not exactly where the Celtics want to be. Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Jrue Holiday
As Rondo goes, so go the Celtics. He has said that it's time for the Celtics to go on a win streak and for them to do that, Rondo will have to lead them. Jrue Holiday has been emerging as a very good point guard and will challenge Rondo on both ends of the court.
Jason Terry vs Jason Richardson
Both of these Jasons are capable of putting points on the board in a hurry. This will be a battle to keep the other one from scoring while being able to score. Richardson started the season hot from beyond the arc but was just 1-9 in his last 2 games. Hopefully that doesn't mean that he's due for a break out game. Jason Terry has been playing very well lately and hopefully he continues to do so.
Paul Pierce vs Evan Turner
Turner is a streaky player. When he is on, he's very tough to guard. He has given the Celtics problems in the past. Pierce has also been up and down, dominating one game and then struggling the next. Turner is a good defender and so this would be a good time for Jeff Green to step up.
Keys to the GameDefense
- As always, defense is key to winning. Period. The Celtics showed some signs of getting back to playing their trademark defense in their last game and against the Blazers, but they are still wildly inconsistent on defense. It would be nice to see them put together a string of strong defensive efforts. The offense so often feeds off the defense and when they are hustling on defense, the offense seems to flow much smoother. Rebound
- The Celtics out rebounded a very good rebounding Timberwolves team 45-41. As with defense, they have been very inconsistent with their rebounding efforts as well. Against the Thunder and the Wolves when they have extra motivation to win the game, they put out the extra effort on the boards and not surprisingly, get the win. They need to put that effort out every game and when they show the effort on the boards, it seems to translate to the other areas of the game as well. Take Care of the Ball
- The Celtics seem to cruise in some games and then allow the other team into the game with a string of careless turnovers. They have to take care of the ball and not get careless when they get a lead.
- The Celtics need to be the more aggressive team. They have to be more aggressive going to the basket, diving for loose balls, playing defense, and grabbing rebounds. The more aggressive team will have the momentum and will get the calls. X-Factors
Focus on the Road
The Celtics are on the road so they need to be focused on playing the right way if they want to get this win. They need to defend, rebound, and go to the basket.