at Boston Celtics (36-30) at New Orleans Hornets (22-46)
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #67 – Road Game #33
TV: CSN-NE, FSO, NBA-LP 760(BOS)/761(NOH)
Radio: WEEI, WWL
New Orleans Arena ProbableStarters PG
Avery Bradley SG
Courtney Lee SF
Paul Pierce PF
Brandon Bass C
Kevin Garnett Reserves
Rajon Rondo (knee) out
Jared Sullinger (back) out
Kevin Garnett (adductor/illness) day to dayRed Claws
Fab MeloProbable Starters PG
Greivis Vasquez SG
Eric Gordon SF
Al Farouq Amino PF
Anthony Davis C
Robin Lopez Reserves
Roger Mason Jr
Darius Miller Injuries
Austin Rivers (hand) out
Jason Smith (labrum) out Game Notes
The Celtics begin a 3 game road trip in New Orleans as they look to avenge a loss to the Hornets at the Garden earlier this season. Kevin Garnett, who missed the last 2 games with an adductor injury and some kind of illness, traveled with the team and could be available for this game.
Starting the trip out against the 22-46 Hornets, who are at the bottom of the Western conference, could give the Celtics a chance to get the trip started on the right foot. The Hornets lost lost their fourth straight and 12th in 15 games on Monday as they began a seven-game homestand. The Celtics had won seven of nine before falling to the Heat on Monday, but the two losses came on the road by an average of 19.0 points. The Celtics will play six of their next eight games away from home and must find a way to win these games on the road.
The first meeting between these two teams was all about Doc's first game coaching against his son Austin. This time around, Austin is out with a hand injury so they will not have that distraction. Jeff Green is coming off perhaps his best career game and the Celtics are hoping that they will see some consistency from him and that he will play well in this game also.
Every game from now until the end of the season becomes important. The Celtics simply cannot take a game off. The standings in the East are so close that one loss can raise or drop a team as many as 3 spots. The Celtics are currently in the 7th spot, tied record-wise with the Bulls, who are 6th by way of leading the season series. Both teams are half a game behind Atlanta who are in the 5th spot. They are 2.5 games back of the Nets and 3.5 games behind the Knicks for the Division lead.
The Celtics beat themselves in part against the Heat. They missed 9 free throws in a 2 point loss. They also turned the ball over 20 times. They have to learn from that loss and tighten up those areas. They also have to increase their focus, especially on the road. A little more focus and energy will go a long way toward correcting those mistakes. Whether KG plays or not, the Celtics should be able to win this game easily, but it will take a team effort.
Avery Bradley vs Grievis Vasquez
Vasquez has been playing very well for the Hornets and is averaging 14.2 points, 9.3 assists and 4.5 rebounds per game. Avery needs to disrupt Vasquez with his defense as well as keep the Celtics offense moving.
Courtney Lee vs Eric Gordon
Gordon is the Hornets' top scorer and is capable of putting up a lot of points and so it will be up to Lee and Bradley to keep him from getting his shot going. At the same time, it would be nice to see both Avery and Courtney hitting their shots. Honorable Mention
Brandon Bass vs Anthony Davis
Davis, the first pick in last year's draft, has been playing well for the Hornets with averages of 13.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. Bass started out strong against the Heat but then faded and all but disappeared. The Celtics need the aggressive Bass who is active on the boards and on defense. He also needs to look for his shot and hit those jumpers that he was hitting last year, but not so much this season.Keys to the GameDefense
- The Celtics have been winning with their defense and they need to continue to make defense their main focus. As long as they play lock down Celtics' team defense, they will always have a chance to win games. When they let up on defense and allow the other team to get easy baskets, they struggle on both ends of the court. The offense often feeds off the defense. Rebound -
It takes effort to rebound and the Celtics must put forth that effort if they want to win this game. They can't allow the Hornets to get second chance baskets. They must be the team that wants it more if they expect to win this game and that effort and desire will show itself on the boards. The Hornets outrebounded the Celtics in their first meeting 55-40 and the Celtics simply must do better in this game if they want to get the win. Be Aggressive
- The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have to be aggressive on defense and they must be aggressive on the boards. They have to win the 50-50 balls and they also have to take the ball to the basket and not settle for jumpers, especially if the jumpers aren't falling. Stay Focused
- The Celtics seem to lose focus and then beat themselves. We've seen them lose big leads time and again when they start to turn the ball over and miss shots. They have to stay focused throughout the game. They have to make smarter passes and limit turnovers. They also have to stay focused when shooting free throws. Missing 9 free throws against the Heat is unacceptable and shows a lack of focus. X-Factor
On the Road
The Celtics are on the road and haven't had all that much success on the road so far this season. They have a 12-20 record away from the Garden and that goes back to the last of the keys to the game - focus. They have to bring extra focus to play well in a hostile environment and when they don't have the crowd behind them.