Celtics Looking to Avenge Loss to That Other LA Team

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Los Angeles Clippers (19-23) at Boston Celtics (28-13)
Monday, January 25
7:30 PM ET
Game #42, Home Game #20
TV: CSN-NE, FSNP, NBA LP 762, 763
TD Garden
Referees      Joe Crawford | Brent Barnaky | Derrick Collins

When the Celtics met the Clippers in LA,  they were on a 9 game road winning streak but were playing without Paul Pierce, who didn't make the trip because of the knee infection.   The Clippers won that game on a last second shot by Baron Davis.  Since that game, the Celtics have struggled with Pierce and Garnett both missing time.  The Celtics finally have their starting lineup back together and will be looking for some revenge for that heart breaking loss as the Clippers visit the Garden. Both teams are 5-5 in their last 10 games.  The Celtics are 12-7 at home wile the Clippers are 6-14 on the road.  The Celtics have been off since Friday and the Clippers are playing in the second of back to back games and in the 3rd game of an 8 game road trip.   Both teams are looking for their second straight win as the Clippers  beat the Wizards in an afternoon game on Sunday.  The Celtics won an OT thriller in the Garden on Friday night.
In the last game, Rondo was out played by Baron Davis who scored 24 points, dished out 13 assists and nabbed 3 steals,  to 20 points, 6 assists and 2 steals for Rondo.   And, of course, Davis  hit the game winner, while Rondo missed two crucial free throws in crunch time.   That game has to be still on Rondo's mind and I look for a big game from him in this one.
With Pierce out in the last game,  Tony Allen got the start and he held Al Thornton to just two points on 1-5 shooting.  Pierce has been playing very well since coming back from the knee injury.  He has scored over points in each of his last five games  and he has been shooting 50% from beyond the arc in those games as well.  Hopefully his strong play will continue in this game.
KG and Perk will be working together to try to keep Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby at bay in this game.  Camby missed the last game but should play in this one.   He is a rebounding machine and Kaman is the team's leading scorer.  They will be tough to cover and so both KG and Perk will need to have a very good game defensively.
With Eric Gordon out with a toe injury, former Celtic Ricky Davis has been getting the start at shooting guard.  Ricky always seems to be motivated to  play his best basketball against the Celtics.  But Ricky also has defensive lapses and hopefully that will allow Ray to have a strong game offensively.  The bench played well against the Blazers and they will need to continue their strong play in this game as well.
The Celtics have been talking about the need to play stronger at home and make teams once again fear coming to the Garden.  This is a good game to make that statement,  along with getting some revenge in the deal as well.
Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard
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Rajon Rondo vs Baron Davis

Shooting Guard
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Ray Allen vs Ricky Davis

Small Forward
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Paul Pierce vs Al Thornton

Power Forward
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Kevin Garnett vs Marcus Camby

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Kendrick Perkins vs Chris Kaman

Key Matchups
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Rajon Rondo vs Baron Davis
Rondo has to still be stinging from Baron's last second game winner in their last matchup. Baron had the slight edge with 24 points, 13 assists, and 3 steals to 20 points, 6 assists and 2 steals for Rondo. Rondo should be looking to even the score in this game.

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Kendrick Perkins vs Chris Kaman
Chris Kaman netted a game-high 27 points and 12 boards in the last meeting between these two teams. Perk has to do a better job in this game of slowing Kaman down.

Honorable Mention
Kevin Garnett vs Marcus Camby
This is a matchup between 2 defensive players and it should be a battle. Camby is the Clippers' leading rebounder and shot blocker and both KG and Camby are key to their teams' focus and success. This will be a tough matchup for both players.

Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense wins games and the Celtics need to continue to make it a priority. When they play team defense, good things happen. They lost their trust on defense while KG was out. Hopefully with him back, they will regain that trust and get back to playing the lock down defense that will win them the championship.

Rebound - The Celtics need to make an effort to crash the boards and get more rebounds, especially on the offensive end. In the past few games they have allowed themselves to be out-rebounded and that makes games alot closer than they should be. Rebounding is all about effort and they have to get back to putting out that effort.

Focus - The Celtics' focus has wavered recently and because of that they have lost several games they should have won. They need to regain their focus and get back to playing as a team.

Play 48 minutes - The Celtics need to come out strong to start the game. They also must play hard through all 4 quarters. They did better against the Blazers but still didn't put them away when they had a lead. They have to get back to putting teams away once they get them down.

Revenge and Focus
The Celtics suffered a heartbreaker out in LA when Baron Davis hit a last second shot to win the game. They have to have that game on their mind when they take the court in this one in order to even the score.
  With KG back, we have already seen an improvement in the Celtics' focus down the stretch, especially on the defensive end.  If they bring that focus in this game, they should come away with a win.   If they don't,  the Clippers could come away with another win.  

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