Boston Celtics (0-2) at New Orleans Hornets (1-0)
Wednesday, December 28
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #3, Road Game #3
Radio:   WEEI, WMTI
Referees: Scott Foster, Tony Brown, Josh Tiven
New Orleans Arena 

 Celtics are closing out their first road trip in New Orleans.  They are also playing in their first back to back of the season.  In spite of this being the second of back to back games and the third game on the road after 2 very tough games,  this is a very winnable game.

The Hornets are still reeling from the trade of Chris Paul and the defection of David West and are trying to find their identity with all the new players.    But, they did pull off a win in their first game in Phoenix, so the Celtics will still have to play well in order to get a win in this game. They can't take them for granted. 

The Celtics don't want to go 0-3 to start the season and need to come out strong and not let up.  Since this is the second of back to back games, Doc needs to play the younger guys more or the starters won't have anything left at the end of the game. After playing 44 minutes last night, Rondo will be running on fumes if Doc doesn't give him a rest in this game. 

PG:  Rajon Rondo
SG:  Ray Allen
SF:  Sasha Pavlovic
PF:  Kevin Garnett
C:   Jermaine O'Neal

Celtics Reserves

Avery Bradley
Marquis Daniels
Chris Wilcox
Brandon Bass
Keyon Dooling
E'twaun Moore
Greg Stiemsma
JaJuan Johnson

Paul Pierce (heel) day to day
Mickael Pietrus (knee)  out
Chris Wilcox (shoulder) questionable

PG:  Jarrett Jack
SG:  Eric Gorden
SF:  Trevor Ariza
PF:  Carl Landry
C:   Emeka Okafor

Hornets Reserves

Greivis Vasquez
Al-Farouq Aminu
Gustavo Ayon
Marco Belinelli
Carldell Johnson
Trey Johnson
Chris Kaman
Jason Smith
Lance Thomas

DaJuan Summers (knee)  out

Key Matchups
Ray Allen vs Eric Gordon

Kevin Garnett vs Carl Landry

Keys to the Game
Play 48 minutes - The Celtics have gotten off to slow starts two games in a row and have had to fight back from a deep hole in both games only to fall short at the end.  They need to start quickly and not let themselves get behind as it takes too much effort to try to dig out of the holes they find themselves in.

Defense - The Celtics have allowed over 60 points in the first half of both games so far and have allowed over 100 points in both losses.  They need to clamp down on defense from the beginning.

Be the aggressor - The Celtics have been reacting to their opposition rather than being the aggressor and getting out to a lead and keeping it.  They need to run the break, be aggressive on defense and dive for loose balls.

Rebound the ball - The Celtics have to be more aggressive on the boards.  One rebound for their starting center just won't cut it.  When your point guard is the team's leading rebounder,  you know that the bigs on the team have to be more aggressive on the boards.

Limit turnovers - The Celtics turned the ball over way too much against the heat and those turnovers led to fast break points.  They have to take better care of the ball and be more careful with their passes.

X Factor
The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games and have been playing short handed.  They are also playing in their 3rd road game to start the season.  They also had 2 tough matchups in NY and Miami where the starters had to play right up until the end of the game. 

FLCeltsFan 12/28/2011 01:28:00 PM Edit
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9 Responses so far.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Yes, this is a must win -__-

  2. JonathanN says:

    Exactly the piece of information I was looking for! Thanks so much !

  3. Just a note. Yesterday, this game was listed on NBA-TV. Today they have it listed on League Pass with the Thunder and Grizzlies on NBA-TV. Guess they didn't think the Celtics- Hornets was an exciting enough game.

  4. Eric Gordon is officially out.

  5. shelbyl says:

    Halftime notes:

    - Terrible FG%. We're used to this from last year, though. Back-to-backs affect our shooting percentage first and foremost.
    - Stiemsma! Ladies and gentlemen, we've found our Ben Wallace/Theo Ratliff to come. He has 4 blocks already. Great defensive awareness.
    - Bradley looks more like a lost cause every passing day. I don't know how he is going to realize his potential, but that needs to happen. I'd rather play Moore than him at this point. At least the kid can create his own shot.
    - Our defensive rotation is still bad. When I say bad, I mean baaaaaaad. There is a 4-day window coming up when we will do nothing but practice rotations, I guess.
    - Rondo has been silent so far. Without Pierce, he has been our "go to" guy in offense. He needs to get fired up. Maybe a poster of Chris Paul will do.
    - JO is doing better, but is still not there yet. Sasha is definitely doing better, has steals, is more confident in offense.

    Recipe for the win: Rondo gears up, we toughen it up on D, Doc turns to an offensive lineup towards the end to pull the trigger.

  6. shelbyl says:

    Oh, and the officiating has been really bad in the first half. Let's hope that improves.

  7. JR says:

    Good notes as always Shelbyl.

    I agree impressed with the Steimer and I'm not sure if Bradley will ever be an NBA player. He drives Doc crazy. No idea where to be on offense. Moore will get his minutes soon enough.

    Really like Sasha's defense. I don't think we should give up on him.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Idk if Kg is a starting pf in this league anymore. He's an average defender at best at this point in his career. Don't let me get started on JO. I would rather Steimsma get his minutes.

  9. shelbyl says:

    Thanks JR.

    We looked really tired out there in the second half, couldn't push it beyond an 8-point difference and Hornets (esp. Jarrett Jack) hit some ridiculous shots.

    In order to get by this regular season, we'll need to stay healthy. When Pierce and Pietrus get into the rotation, the minutes will be more fairly distributed. I'm even thinking KG doesn't dress for some games later on.

    Miami barely beat Charlotte, blowouts everywhere... Damn this lockout/schedule thing sucks.

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