at Phoenix Suns (12-24) at Boston Celtics (17-17)
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #35, Home Game #17
TV: CSN-NE,FSA, NBA-LP 756(PHX)/757(BOS)
Radio: WEEI, KTAR
TD Garden Probable Starting Lineup PG:
Rajon Rondo SG:
Kevin Garnett SF:
Brandon Bass Celtics Reserves
Chris Wilcox (thumb) out
Fab Melo (concussion) outProbable Starting Lineup PG:
PJ Tucker C:
Marcin Gortat SF:
Jared Dudley PF:
Luis Scola Suns Reserves
Luke Zeller Injuries
Channing Frye (heart) out Team Connections
Brandon Bass and Marcin Gortat were teammates in Orlando during the 2009-10 season
Marcin Gortat and Courtney Lee were teammates in Orlando during the 2008-09 season
Jason Collins was teammates with Sebastian Telfair in Minnesota during the 2008-09 season
Kris Joseph, Fab Melo and Wesley Johnson all attended Syracuse
Courtney Lee, Luis Scola and Goran Dragic were teammates in Houston from 2010-12
Paul Pierce and Markieff Morris attended Kansas
Jason Terry and Channing Frye both attended Arizona
Sebastian Telfair played for the Celtics during the 2006-07 season
Jermaine O’Neal played for the Celtics from 2010-12
Leandro Barbosa played for Phoenix from 2003-10
Barbosa and Dragic were teammates in Phoenix from 2008-10.
The Celtics are looking for their first 4 game win streak of the season as they host the Phoenix Suns. This begins a 5 game home stand that will also include Houston, Charlotte, New Orleans, and Chicago. The Suns may put some extra effort into this game as they are sitting on 1999 wins and are looking for their 2000th franchise win. A loss in this game will put the Celtics in the record books and not in a good way.
The Suns will reach 2000 wins in the 4th fewest games behind the Celtics, Lakers, and Sixers. This game will be their 4th try to gain that milestone for the franchise. The Suns have lost 3 in a row while the Celtics have won 3 in a row. The Suns are 1-9 in their last 10 games while the Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10.
The Celtics are 10-6 at home while the Suns have struggled on the road with a 2-15 record. But Phoenix have won 4 out of the last 5 against the Celtics, including their only game last season, a 79-71 win at the Garden. The Suns are 5-4 against the Celtics in the KG era.
Both the Suns and the Celtics started the season with 9 new players that weren't with the team last season. Both have struggled somewhat with incorporating the new players. While the Celtics seem to be turning it around, the Suns are still struggling to find some team chemistry. The Suns played in Milwaukee last night and so fatigue may come into play for them as well.
The Celtics are looking for their first 4 game win streak along with trying to get back over .500 again with a win in this game. With some favorable matchups coming up during this 5 game home stand, this might be time for the Celtics to make a nice run. If they play like they did in their past 3 games, it shouldn't be a problem. Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Goran Dragic
Rondo is coming off yet another suspension, although this one wasn't exactly deserved. He should be fired up to get this win since his teammates bailed him out and pulled off the win over the Knicks. Dragic is averaging 14.4 points and 6.4 assists so it won't be a walk in the park for Rondo but he should be able to win the matchup if he is aggressive.
Kevin Garnett vs Marcin Gortat
With all the rumors going around about Gortat wanting to come to Boston, he may try to audition for the Celtics by having a big game in this one. Gortat is averaging 8.5 points and 8.6 rebounds this season and it will be up to KG to keep him out of the paint. Honorable Mention
Brandon Bass vs Luis Scola
Scola is averaging 12/9 points and 6.2 rebounds but has in the past found ways to come up big against the Celtics. He can hit the jumper and he can get to the hoop and so Brandon's defense will be crucial to keep Scola from having a big game in this one. Keys to the GameDefense
- This is the key to every win this season and to a championship as well. We have seen the Celtics defense that we have come to know and love in the past 3 games and because of that defense they are on a 3 game win streak. Playing defense like that takes energy and teamwork and hopefully the Celtics will continue to play with that type of defensive energy and teamwork. Ball Movement
- The Celtics need to move the ball and find the open man in order to stretch the Suns weak defenses. They also need to try to get the ball into the paint and not just settle for jumpers. If they get the ball into the post they will be able to score, draw the foul or kick out for an open jumper. Against the Knicks, even without Rondo, the Celtics had 26 assists, which was their second highest assist total for the season. When the ball moves, the Celtics are much harder to guard.
Crash the Boards
- The Celtics must make an effort to grab rebounds, especially on the offensive end. By grabbing offensive rebounds it will prevent the Suns from getting out on the break. Rebounding is mostly desire and effort and the team that wants it most will win the rebounding battle. The Celtics have been rebounding well in their 3 recent wins and every player is doing their part to crash the boards. Bench Play
- The Celtics got a big boost off the bench in the Knicks game. Jeff Green Jared Sullinger, Courtney Lee, and Leandro Barbosa all pitched in to help the Celtics get past the Knicks. The Celtics need to get that kind of production from their reserves on a consistent basis. X-Factors
Focus and Home Court
The Celtics have tended to come up big against teams like the Knicks but then let down against teams like the 12-23 Suns. The Celtics have to come out just as focused in this game as they did against the Knicks, Pacers and Hawks (in the second half, at least). Also, the Celtics are at home and the Suns haven't played well on the road. Hopefully home court will give the C's a boost.