Boston Celtics (35-25) at Charlotte Bobcats (7-50)
Sunday, April 15
6:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #61, Road Game #31
Time Warner Cable Arena
Referees:  Greg Willard, Brent Barnaky, David Guthrie
This is the 3rd and final meeting between these two teams.  The Celtics lead the series 2-0, which isn't surprising considering the fact that the Bobcats have only 7 wins for the entire season.  This goes beyond tanking.  The Bobcats could win every game until the end of the season and still not have to worry about having the worst record in the league.  Washington is next with 14 wins. 

The Bobcats are 0-10 in their last 10 games and have a 15 game losing streak going.  The Celtics had won 4 in a row before laying an egg and losing to the Raptors.  The Celtics are 13-16 on the road while the Bobcats are 4-23 at home.  The Celtics are playing in the 3rd of back to back to back games on the road while the Bobcats were off on Saturday. 

Pierce left last night's game after hitting his toe but said he'd play in this game.  Bass also has been battling injury but has been playing through it.   Sherrod Blakely said that he wouldn't be surprised to see Pierce and Garnett sit this one out.   If the Celtics had to face any team in the 3rd game in 3 nights, the Bobcats are the best option.  They should get this win, even sitting out the entire starting lineup.  But then again, they should have beaten the Raptors too.

Probable Starters
Rajon Rondo.....Avery Bradley ..... Paul Pierce.....Brandon Bass.......Kevin Garnett
Celtics Reserves
JaJuan Johnson
E'Twaun Moore
Sasha Pavlovic
Greg Stiemsma
Keyon Dooling
Marquis Daniels
Ryan Hollins 
Mickael Pietrus


Jermaine O'Neal (wrist)  out
Ray Allen (ankle) out
Paul Pierce (toe) probable
Brandon Bass (knee)  probable

Probable Starters
PG......SG.....SF.....PF ..... C
DJ Augustin......Gerald Henderson....Derrick Brown........BJ Mullens .......Bismack Biyombo

Bobcats Bench

Kemba Walker
Reggie Williams
Matt Carroll
Cory Higgins
DeSagana Diop

DJ White (head) questionable
Corey Maggette (Achilles) out
Tyrus Thomas (knee) questionable

Key Matchups
Kevin Garnett vs Bismack Biyombo
Biyombo is a promising young center but KG loves to get into rookies' heads.  KG also has a height advantage over Biyombo which should help him get his shots off over him.   I expect a big game from KG at least in the first 3 quarters.  He should be sitting out the 4th. 

Rajon Rondo vs DJ Augustin
DJ Augustin is a good young point guard, but he's not a star.  Rondo tends to play harder when up against the other star PG's in the league.  Hopefully with every game being important for playoff seeding, Rondo will have a big game, in spite of the competition. 
Keys to the Game
Focus and Energy - When the Celtics face teams with losing records, they often come out flat and lack focus and energy and they lose to teams they should easily beat. (See Raptors game).     The Celtics have got to stay focused and play with energy the entire game because the Bobcats always play hard, even though they don't have the most talent in the league,  and will take advantage of any lapse from the Celtics. 

Defense -   The Celtics need to make defense their priority.   Games are won on the defensive end. The effort that the Celtics put out on the defensive end carries over to the offensive end as well.   If they don't get stops, chances are they don't get the win.   In the loss to the Raptors, it was the inability to get stops that doomed the Celtics because even when the offense is off, if they can stop the other team from scoring,  they will get the win. 

Rebound -    Good things happen when the Celtics crash the boards.   When they show energy in rebounding, that energy spreads to other areas of the game.  They prevent second chance points and fast break baskets by grabbing the rebounds.   Rebounding is effort and the Celtics must put out the effort to win the battle of the boards.   

Be Aggressive - When the Celtics are the more aggressive team they usually win.  They need to be aggressive in going to the basket, in grabbing rebounds, and in hustling after loose balls.  Unfortunately they often come out passively against the worst teams and so they have to make an effort to be aggressive in this one.

Fatigue and Mentality
The Celtics are playing in the third of back to back to back games on the road.  This should be an easy game for them, but with this team, you never know.  And that brings us to their mentality.   They tend to play down to the teams with the worst records.  They need to come out playing like they are playing the Heat and then they can have a nice rest and playing time for the rookies in the 4th quarter if they do.

FLCeltsFan 4/15/2012 02:51:00 PM Edit
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