Celtics Host Delonte and the Mavs

Dallas Mavericks (5-5) at Boston Celtics (4-4)
Wednesday, January 11
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #9 – Home Game #5
Radio:  WEEI, KESN
TD Garden   Buy Tickets
Referees:  Bill Spooner,  Mark Ayotte,  Josh Tiven
This is the first meeting between the Celtics and the reigning NBA Champs.  The Mavs won the series last year 2-0, but both teams have undergone a considerable makeover since last season.  The Celtics are 3-1 at home while the Mavs are 1-3 on the road. 

The Mavericks are fresh off their visit to the White House and are playing in the second of back to back games, having beaten the Pistons in Detroit on Tuesday night.  The Celtics are coming off a rare 4 day break after their embarrassing loss to the Pacers on Friday. 

The Celtics should get a boost from the debut of Mickael Pietrus, who is finally ready to play after taking a couple of weeks to rehab from off season knee surgery.  He is ready to play and Doc said that his practice on Tuesday was sensational.  The Celtics can use his toughness and scoring off the bench.  Marquis Daniels missed the last 2 practices and may miss this game so Pietrus' debut couldn't come at a better time. 

The Celtics need a win in this game to erase the memory of the debacle against the Pacers.  Both the Celtics and Mavs have struggled out of the gates this season.  Hopefully the Celtics can get on track and get a win in this one. 

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Delonte West

Shooting Guard

Ray Allen vs Vince Carter

Small Forward

Paul Pierce vs Shawn Marion

Power Forward
Kevin Garnett vs Dirk Nowitski 


Jermaine O'Neal vs Brendan Haywood 

Celtics Reserves
Brandon Bass
Mickael Pietrus
Chris Wilcox
Keyon Dooling
Sasha Pavlovic
Greg Stiemsma
Avery Bradley
E'Twaun Moore
JaJuan Johnson

Marquis Daniels (illness)  questionable

Dallas Reserves
Rodrigue Beaubois
Brian Cardinal
Yi Jianlian
Dominique Jones
Ian Mahinmi
Lamar Odom
Jason Terry
Brandan Wright
Sean Williams 

Jason Kidd (back)  out  

Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Delonte West
These two have gone up against each other many times as teammates. Now, they face each other on opposite sides.  I'm sure Delonte will be intent on proving to the Celtics that they made a mistake by not signing him this season so Rondo will have a fight on his hands. 

Kevin Garnett vs Dirk Nowitski 
This should be a great matchup.    Dirk has the capability of taking over a game and KG will need to concentrate on his defense to keep him from having a big game.  Both have been playing well and so this should be fun to watch.  Hopefully KG comes to play and is able to keep Dirk from having a big night

Honorable Mention
Ray Allen vs Vince Carter
Ray has been the most consistent Celtic so far this season and has been averaging a mind boggling 63.4% from beyond the arc.  Vince Carter has never been known for his defense and even less for fighting through screens on defense.  Hopefully Ray will continue his hot streak in this game as well. 

Keys to the Game
Rebound - Rebounding is so crucial to getting a win.  When the Celtics put out the effort to grab rebounds, more often than not, they are going to get the win.  In their last game, the Celtics allowed the Pacers to out-rebound them 47-36.  The Celtics have to give a better effort on the boards if they want to win this one. 

Defense - Defense is always crucial to getting a win.  Defense wins games is not just a cliche, it is the truth.  The Celtics must play tough team defense in this and every game.  Against the Mavs, defense is especially crucial because they can put points on the board very quickly.

Bench Play - The bench has been inconsistent so far this season and has struggled to score at times.  They should get a boost from the debut of Mickael Pietrus.  Doc described his performance in practice as sensational.  After their performance against the Pacers,  the Celtics could use some sensational.   

Score the Ball - The Celtics scored just 25 points in the first half of their last game.  They have to run the offense and hit their shots.  They can't expect to win if they shoot 39% and score 25 points in a half. 

Official Report

Bill Spooner
Spooner has officiated over 1,000+ regular season games and 50+ play-off games. Spooner served as president of the high school referee association in 1982. Spooner is the ref who failed to call Kobe's elbow to the throat of Ron Artest a couple years back, even though he was the ref in position to call it. Artest's complaints resulted in his ejection but nothing was called on Kobe in the game. The league later admitted their error and assessed Kobe a flagrant 1 for the elbow. But that didn't help Houston who had to play without Artest the rest of the game. The Celtics are 7-3 in their last 10 games with Spooner while the Mavs are 8-2 in their last 10. This is Spooner's second game this season with the Celtics. He also officiated the game in Washington vs the Wizards, which the Celtics won. Spooner's home W/L record this season is 4-2.

Mark Ayotte
This is Ayotte's 8th year as an NBA referee. He has 12 years of college officiating experience and 10 years of high school officiating experience before making it to the NBA. The Celtics are 5-5 over their last 10 games. In the 5 games officiated by Ayotte last season, the Celtics shot 89 free throws to 123 free throws for their opponents. The Mavs are 6-4 over their last 10 with Ayotte. Ayotte tends to be influenced by the home crowd and has a home W/L record this season is 6-2.

Josh Tiven
This is Tiven's second full season as an NBA Referee. He was part of a group of NBDL refs who officiated several games in the 2009-10 season as part of an initiative aimed at preparing top prospects to move up. He also spent time calling games in the WNBA and college before moving to the NBDL. The Celtics have only had 8 games officiated by Tiven and are 4-4 in those games. One loss was in Houston where Tiven and crew were so bad that they actually caused Tommy to swear on the air over their falling for flops. The Mavs are 2-1 in their games only games with Tiven. His home W/L record this season is 6-2.

Rest vs Rust
The Mavs are playing in the second of back to back games while the Celtics have had 4 days off.  The 4 days of rest hopefully will result in a rested and sharp Celtics team that has worked out the kinks in the offense rather than a team that looks rusty because they haven't played in 4 days.