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Portland Trail Blazers (26-17) at Boston Celtics (27-13)
Friday, January 22
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #41 – Home Game #19
TD Garden
Ed Malloy | Tony Brothers | Sean Wright

The Celtics won't get much sympathy from the Blazers if they complain about their injuries. The Blazers have been hit with one injury after another and come into this game with 5 key players out including Brandon Roy who left their last game after only 18 minutes with a hamstring injury. In spite of all their injuries, the Blazers have been playing very good ball and have built a respectable 26-17 record.

The Celtics are expecting to get a boost this game from the return of Kevin Garnett. He went through a full practice on Tuesday and suffered no soreness or problems the day after so he is expected to return for this game. The Celtics are almost at full strength once again, with only Marquis Daniels still out. We can expect KG to be rusty, but just his presence on the court should give his teammates a lift.

The Celtics' home court hasn't exactly been an advantage for them this season as they have more losses at home than they do on the road. Friday nights at home have been particularly rough for this team. Hopefully after having lost their 3rd home game in a row and 6 of their last 10 games overall, the team has regrouped and will come into this game focused. The return of KG should help their focus as well.


Probable Starters
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PG: Rajon Rondo
SG: Ray Allen
SF: Paul Pierce
PF: Kevin Garnett
C: Kendrick Perkins


Probable Starters
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PG: Andre Miller
SG: Jarryd Bayless
SF: Martell Webster
PF: LaMarcus Aldridge
C: Juwan Howard

Key Matchup

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Kevin Garnett vs LaMarcus Aldridge
I am going by faith that we will see Kevin Garnett in this game. Just having KG back on the floor and on the bench will hopefully be enough to change the attitude that has invaded this team in recent games.

Keys to the Game
Play 48 Minutes The Celtics have been giving up big leads recently. The third quarter used to be their time to put other teams away but recently, the Celtics have been the team getting put away in the third quarter. They must maintain their focus in the second half of games.

Defense The Celtics have been losing their defensive focus and are playing defense in spurts. They seem to forget all about defense in the 3rd and 4th quarters as evidenced by the fact that they allowed Dallas to shoot over 80% in the 3rd quarter.

Rebound The Celtics have been getting out-rebounded in their recent losses. Much of rebounding is effort and focus and the Celtics have shown little of either in recent games. They have to grab the rebounds to prevent fast breaks and second chance points.

Focus Many of the Celtics problems are the result of a lack of focus. Whether they are blaming injuries or whatever, they haven't been following the game plan. There has been way too much individual play and not enough team play. They must get back to ubuntu and focus on playing as a team once again on both ends of the court.

Players Coming and Going
The X Factor in this game will be whether KG does indeed play and whether Brandon Roy will be able to play as well.

[Discuss on CG Forums!]

FLCeltsFan 1/22/2010 02:39:00 PM Edit
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