The Celtics Welcome the Blake Griffin Show to the Garden

Los Angeles Clippers (24-40) at Boston Celtics (46-15)
Wednesday, March 9
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #62, Home Game #33
TV:  CSN-NE, Prime, NBA-LP 757/758
Radio:  WEEI, KFWB
TD Garden
Referees:  Dick Bavetta, Kevin Fehr, John Goble

This is the second and final meeting between these two teams.  When they last met,  the Celtics were playing the second game after the trade.  Krstic and Green were playing in their first game and hadn't practiced with the team as yet.   Only Shaq and JO were on the injured list for the Celtics.  The Celtics have since added Big Baby, Von Wafer and Delonte to the walking wounded. 

Since that first game, the Celtics have also added Troy Murphy, Sasha Pavlovic, and Carlos Arroyo, who is expected to make his Celtics debut in this game.   And, of course, Green and Krstic have had more time to get acclimated to the Celtics system. 

On the Clippers's side of things, they had also made a trade at the deadline but didn't have their new players in the lineup because of a delay in Baron Davis' physical.   Mo Williams has been moved into the starting lineup and will be Rondo's opponent in this one instead of Eric Bledsoe.   Also Jamario Moon will be coming off their bench.

The Celtics are 8-2 in their last 10 games and have won 5 in a row.  The Clippers are 4-6 in their last 10 games but they have won their last 3 games. This is their 4th 3 game win streak this season but they have yet to win 4 in a row.   The addition of Mo Williams at the point seems to have energized the team.  The Celtics are 27-5 at home while the Clippers are 6-25 on the road.

The Celtics won that first game 99-92 in LA.  The Clippers have lost in their last 3 trips to the Garden.  All 5 of the Celtics home losses this season came against Western Conference teams.  Hopefully with the added players and extra time to build some chemistry, the Celtics can come out and blow this game open early to give the new guys some extra in-game minutes together.   With the home crowd behind them, they should be able to pull it off.

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Mo Williams 

Shooting Guard
Ray Allen vs Randy Foye 

Small Forward
Paul Pierce vs Ryan Gomes

Power Forward
Kevin Garnett vs Blake Griffin

Nenad Krstic  vs DeAndre Jordan 

Avery Bradley
Jeff Green
Sasha Pavlovic
Troy Murphy
Carlos Arroyo

Jermaine O'Neal (knee)  out
Shaquille O'Neal (Achilles) out 
Glen Davis  (knee)  day to day
Delonte West (ankle) day to day
Von Wafer (calf) day to day

Brian Cook
Al-Farouq Aminu
Rasual Butler
Craig Smith
Chris Kaman
Willie Warren
Ike Diogu
Jamario Moon
Eric Bledsoe

Eric Gordon (wrist)  questionable  

Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Mo Williams
Rondo had a very sub-par game against the Bucks.  He was out played by Brandon Jennings and had as many turnovers as he did assists  Those kinds of games happen but I doubt they will happen twice in a row. 

Kevin Garnett vs Blake Griffin
This should be a fun matchup to watch.  Blake Griffin is the league's new wonder kid and KG should take this matchup personally and teach the new kid a few tricks from an old vet.  Griffin had 21 points and 11 rebounds in their first meeting while KG had 16 points and 11 rebounds. 

Honorable Mention

Ray Allen vs Randy Foye
In the first meeting between these two teams, Foye had his best game of the season with 32 points, 2 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals, including a season best 4  f3 pointers.  The Celtics need to keep him from having another career game against them. 

Keys to the Game
Defense - The Celtics must continue to make defense their number 1 priority.    They have been allowing their opponents to score more points since the trade, but hopefully as the new players get more familiar with the system, the defense will improve. 

Rebound -  The Celtics need to make an effort to crash the boards, especially on the offensive end.   The Clippers are capable of running on the break if the Celtics don't prevent it by keeping them from getting the rebounds.  Griffin is also very dangerous around the basket getting tip ins and second chance baskets. 

Focus - The Celtics need to keep their focus with all the new players.  They can't assume that teammates will be where they are supposed to be anymore.   In the past, the Celtics have lost focus when facing sub .500 teams, still expecting to pull out a win.  They can't afford to do that with all the new faces and injuries.  They have to keep their focus from start to finish. 


The Celtics have 5 players coming off the bench, 4 of whom are new to the team and each other and 1 is a seldom used rookie.  Murphy is still showing a lot of rust and they are all still learning the system.   They've had a couple of days of practice and hopefully will be able play well enough to give the starters a rest and also keep the team competitive in the process.   The addition of Arroyo should be a help as West continues to miss games with the ankle injury.  

Official Report 
Dick Bavetta
Dick Bavetta was born December 10, 1939 and is currently a referee in the NBA. He has never missed an assigned game in 32 seasons of action. He has worked 2,200+ regular season games, 230+ play-off games and 24 NBA Finals games. He currently holds the record for most games officiated. There is no shortage of controversy surrounding Bavetta. He was singled out in Tim Donaghy's book for being a "company man" and carrying out league agendas in games. Bavetta also likes to keep games close and will often make a lot of calls against a team that pulls out to a lead to keep the two teams close. After watching a game where Bavetta has officiated, it's very easy to believe Donaghy's claims. He was left off the playoff roster last season and there were rumors of a forced retirement but here he is back again for another season. There are also rumors that he died 3 years ago and his contract with the devil allows him to continue to referee games. The Celtics are 2-1 this season and 8-2 in their last 10 games with Bavetta on the court. The Clippers are 4-6 in their last 10 games with Bavetta. His home W/L record is 30.19.

Kevin Fehr
Fehr has officiated over 630+ regular season games. During his 12 years career in the NBA he has refereed no playoff games but he did officiate the 2003 NBA All-Star Game. He has accumulated 5 years of CBA officiating experience, 2 years of FIBA experience, 7 years of collegiate experience and 8 years at the high school level. The Celtics are 2-1 with Fehr on the court this season and 8-2 in their last 10 games with him. The Clippers are 1-9 with Fehr on the court. His W/L record this season is 31-16.

John Goble
John Goble is a relatively new referee in the NBA in his 3rd season in the league. He’s officiated 208+ regular season games and 2 playoff games. Seems odd that Goble already has called a couple of playoff games with just 3 years of experience but Fehr has been in the league over 12 years and still hasn't gotten to the playoffs. The Celtics are 4-0 this season and 8-2 over their last 10 games that Goble has officiated. The Clippers are 1-9 in their last 10 games with Goble. His home W/L record this season is 35-17.

Injuries and Home Court
The Celtics have been finding ways to win in spite of all the injuries but you have to wonder if the injuries will catch up to them eventually.   The Celtics feed well off the home crowd and they have made it a priority to protect home court this season.  Hopefully that continues in this game.