Boston Celtics (32-17) at New Orleans Hornets (27-25)
Wednesday, February 10
8:00 PM ET
Game #50, Road Game # 26
TV: NBA-TV, CST, CSN NE, RTV
New Orleans Arena
Referees: Dick Bavetta, Eric Dalen, Michael Smith
he Hornets are missing their best player and play maker as Chris Paul is out with the knee injury. The matchup between CP3 and Rondo was always a fun one to watch but Rondo should have a much easier time going against Darren Collison.
The Hornets started the season with high expectations but chemistry problems and injuries have derailed their season and continue to do so with the most recent injury to Chris Paul. The same can be said of the Celtics this season as they are trying to right the ship after several very disappointing losses.
Both of these teams are 5-5 in their last 10 games. The Celtics have won 3 of their last 4 games but are coming off a heartbreaking loss where they gave up an 11 point half time lead and completely collapsed in the 3rd quarter. The Hornets are also coming off a loss to Orlando. The Celtics are 17-8 on the road while the Hornets are 16-8 at home.
The Celtics are desperately seeking answers for their recent slide and need to start winning if they want to keep their hopes of Banner 18 this season alive. Doc has said that any stoppage of ball movement will result in a quick exit for that player. He should have just as quick a hook for players who cease to play defense, which in my opinion is an even bigger problem than the offense. And, he should make Sheed play in side and pull him for any ill advised 3's. I hope Doc sticks to his guns and holds the team to a higher standard and maybe then, they will start on a new win streak.
PG SG SF PF C
Rajon Rondo/ Ray Allen/ Paul Pierce/ Kevin Garnett/ Kendrick Perkins
PGSG SF PF C
Darren Collison/ Mo Peterson/ Peja Stojakovic/ David West/ Emeka Okafor
Kevin Garnett vs David West
West is often the focal point of the Hornets offense without Chris Paul in the lineup and KG's defense will be needed in this game to try to keep him from going off on the Celtics.
Paul Pierce (or Tony Allen) vs Peja Stojakovic
Paul Pierce is questionable for this game, but I expect him to play because if he sits out, then Doc will probably recommend that he sit out the All Star game and 3 point contest. If by some miracle Doc gets Pierce to sit, Tony Allen will be guarding Stojakovic, who is deadly from beyond the arc. Whoever guards him must stay on him to prevent a 3 point barrage.
Marquis Daniels vs James Posey
Past 6th man vs current 6th man. In his first game back from the thumb injury, Marquis looked great and the bench very much needs his leadership and energy.
Keys to the Game
Defense The Celtics problems stem from their departure from playing tough team defense. They have been allowing too many easy baskets. When they lose defensive focus, they seem to unravel. They must get back to focusing on being the best defensive team in the league.
Play 48 Minutes The Celtics seem to play well for 3 quarters but they have one quarter in which they can do absolutely nothing. They must keep their focus for all 4 quarters.
Run the Offense The Celtics have to keep their focus on running the offense, making the extra pass and finding the open man. Individuals won't win games. Team will.