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When Rajon Rondo went down with his season ending torn ACL on January 25th, the Celtics were 5 games behind Atlanta, 6 games behind Brooklyn, and 6.5 games behind Chicago in the Eastern Conference standings. They caught the Hawks following Friday nights overtime win at the Garden, and now they can pull even with the Bulls if they are able to take care of business against the abysmal Bobcats tonight (the Nets will have to wait, although the C's have closed the gap to two games).

A few things to look for in tonight's game:

1. Big minutes, and numbers, for Jeff Green - There are already rumors swirling about the Celts giving Paul Pierce the night off, and it makes sense. Pierce has appeared in all 62 games this season, and Charlotte is so bad (more on this in a moment), that Boston should be able to take care of the Bobcats without their captain. If Pierce sits, Jeff Green would likely slide into his spot in the starting line-up, and I'd expect a big game from him. Green has averaged 14.5 points in two game vs. the Bobs this season (25.5 minutes per game), and he exploded for 31 points, 7 boards, 5 blocks and 4 assists in his only start of the season (2/22 @ PHX). Even if Pierce plays I'd expect Doc to limit his minutes - and for Green to get more run. Of note: When Green has played at least 35 minutes this season, the Celtics are 5-0, four of those wins coming against playoff teams.

2. Expanding the rotation - Earlier today, CSNNE's A. Sherrod Blakely had these tweets,




Interesting quote from Doc, and I agree. Even last season (when Boston had absolutely no depth), both Greg Stiemsma and Ryan Hollins had roles in the Celts rotation down the stretch, yet as of now, only Chris Wilcox is getting minutes among the Celtics bench bigs. With D.J. White and Shavlik Randolph available, the C's need to find out what, if anything, they have. Chances are there will be a game where one of KG, Brandon Bass, or Wilcox gets in foul trouble (or injured) and either White or Randolph is pressed into action. Boston would be better served if those guys had at least a little experience playing meaningful minutes with their teammates. As for who should get the minutes among the two - I'd lean White. His NBA numbers actually aren't terrible (13.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per 36 minutes over his 125 career games), and he was a semi-useful rotation guy last season with Charlotte. I think White can help, although not more than 5-10 minutes a night.

I'd also look to get Terrence Williams and Jordan Crawford more burn tonight, and would not play Garnett or Jason Terry more than 25 minutes.The Celtics should lean on their role players tonight, allowing them to hopefully build confidence against a truly terrible team.

3. Charlotte is unspeakably bad at basketball - Some numbers to try and show just how awful MJ's gang is:

- Charlotte is 13-50 this season
- Charlotte started the season 7-5, but has gone 6-45 since November 24th
- Charlotte started the season 2-1 against teams over .500, but has gone 2-32 since November 20th (4-33 overall against .500+ clubs)
- Charlotte went 7-59 last season, the worst single season winning percentage of all time (.106)
- Charlotte is 20-109 since the 2011-12 season tipped off (a .155 winning % over nearly two seasons)
- The Orlando Magic (18 wins) are the only NBA team that have won less games this season, than the Bobcats have won over the past two seasons. Let that sink in for a moment.

Of course all of these stats were rendered moot on February 11th in Charlotte, as the C's allowed the Bobcats to score the last six points in a 94-91 loss. With that said, lightning doesn't strike twice. Boston wins this one, and I don't expect it to be all that close.

Follow Mike on twitter - Mike_Dyer13


Michael Dyer 3/12/2013 03:49:00 PM Edit
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