Celtics Look for First Win as they Close Out Road Trip

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.