C's going for 5th straight win, Pierce going for history

Charlotte Bobcats (3-21) at Boston Celtics (13-10)
Tuesday, February 7
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #24 Home Game #16
TV:  CSN-NE, SSO-CHA,  NBA-LP 753/754
Radio:  WEEI,  WPNZ
TD Garden  Buy Tickets
Referees:  Jason Phillips,  Tony Brown,  Haywoode Workman
This is the first meeting between these two teams.  The Bobcats have lost 11 games in a row and with just 3 wins on the season, to say they are struggling is an understatement.  The Celtics have won their last 4 and 8 of their last 9 and are finally looking like a contender once again. 

There will be some drama in this game as Paul Pierce needs just 10 points to move past Larry Bird as the Celtics 2nd all time scorer. I'm sure that the fans, and maybe even Pierce himself, will be counting the points until he reaches that milestone.  Hopefully it won't derail the team's focus on getting the win. 

Defense has been the key for the Celtics,  who have the second-best scoring defense in the league at 86.7 points per game.  Since the Bobcats are only averaging 83 points per game, the Celtics should have no problem holding them to their average.  The key for the Celtics is to play their game and not play down to the competition. 

Last season, the Bobcats beat the Celtics in their last two meetings, holding them under 90 point in both games.   The three teams that the Bobcats beat this season are the Warriors, Knicks and Bucks (with Bogut).  They are capable of beating any team that takes them for granted and expects to win without putting out the effort.  The Celtics must play their game and play them tough regardless of their record.  

Probable Starters
Rajon Rondo.....Ray Allen ..... Paul Pierce.....Kevin Garnett..... Jermaine O'Neal
Celtics Reserves
Chris Wilcox
Mickael Pietrus
JaJuan Johnson
E'Twaun Moore
Sasha Pavlovic
Greg Stiemsma
Avery Bradley
Brandon Bass


Keyoon Dooling (hip) day to day
Marquis Daniels (ankle)  day to day

Probable Starters
PG......SG.....SF.....PF ..... C
Kemba Walker......Reggie Williams....Tyrus Thomas........Boris Diaw.......Bismack Biyombo

Bobcats Bench

Cory Higgins
Derrick Brown
DJ White
Matt Carroll
BJ Mullens
Eduardo Najera

DeSagana Diop (knee) questionable
Gerald Henderson (hamstring)  out
DJ Augustin  (toe) questionable
Corey Maggette (hamstring)  out 

Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Kemba Walker
Kemba Walker returns to New England where he won a lot of fans playing for UConn.  Rondo appears to be getting back to form after returning from his wrist injury and should give Walker all he can handle in this matchup. 

Kevin Garnett vs Boris Diaw
KG has been playing very well and also has a couple of inches on Diaw, who hasn't always been in the best of shape in recent years.  KG should have a big game and be able to get past (or over) Diaw at will. 

Honorable Mention

Paul Pierce vs Tyrus Thomas
Pierce gives up a couple inches to Thomas, but the Celtics' wily veteran should be able to find a way to get past him.  This could be a tough matchup for the Celtics. 

Keys to the Game
Defense -   The Celtics have been winning with tough defense.  They need to continue to make defense their top priority and they will continue to win.  Defense wins games and it wins championships. 

Rebound -    Good things happen when the Celtics crash the boards.   When they show energy in rebounding, that energy spreads to other areas of the game.  They prevent second chance points and fast break baskets by grabbing the rebounds as well.  The Celtics need to swarm the basket as a team to try to grab every rebound. 

Be Aggressive - When the Celtics are the more aggressive team they usually win.  They need to be aggressive in going to the basket, in grabbing rebounds, and in hustling after loose balls.  This goes for the Celtics as a team and for each player individually.   

Take Care of the Ball - The Celtics still tend to get sloppy and turn the ball over way too much.  They need to take care of the ball and limit turnovers.  It seems as though they make a run and get a big lead and then they turn the ball over several times and let the other team right back in it.  They have to be careful with their passes and be aware of where the defenders are to avoid allowing them to get steals. 

Official Report
Jason Phillips
Phillips has officiated 716 regular season games and 19 playoff games since joining the NBA officiating staff 12 seasons ago. He officiated his first two Finals games during the 2010-11 season. In addition, Phillips has six seasons of experience officiating in the CBA, working the 1999 CBA Finals. He also officiated three seasons in the WNBA, working the 1999 WNBA Finals. Phillips spent five years officiating at the high school level in his home state of Texas. The Celtics are 0-1 this season and they are 4-6 over their last 10 games with Phillips as a ref. The loss this season was to Chicago where the Celtics shot 13 free throws to 21 for the Bulls. It was Phillips and crew that got Tommy to swear on the air last season about the refs falling for all the blank blank flops. Charlotte is 5-5 with Phillips over their last 10. His home W/L record this season is 10-6.

Tony Brown
Tony Brown has officiated 536 regular season games in his first nine seasons as an NBA official. Brown officiated his first playoff game during the 2010-11 season. Prior to joining the NBA, he officiated for four seasons in the NBA Development League and CBA and three in the WNBA. During that time he worked the 2002 D-League Finals, the 2002 WNBA All-Star Game and the 2001 CBA Finals.d for the NBDL, the CBA and the WNBA. This is the the second Celtics game for Brown this season. The first game was the loss to the Hornets where the Celtics shot 18 free throws to 25 for the Hornets. The Celtics are 4-6 in their last 10 games with Brown and the Bobcats are 6-4 in their last 10, one of which was their win in New York. His home W/L record is 12-6.

Haywoode Workman
Workman is a former NBA player who crossed over to the dark side to become an NBA referee. Haywoode Workman has officiated 166 regular season games in his first three NBA seasons. A second round draft pick by the Atlanta Hawks in 1989, he played professionally for eight seasons in the NBA and overseas betweeen 1989
to 2000. He spent four seasons officiating in the NBA Development League and also officiated in the CBA before joining the NBA. Workman joins Bernie Fryer and Leon Wood on the short list of NBA players who have made the transition to officiating after their playing careers. He was inducted into the Oral Roberts University Athletics Hall of Fame in 2003. The Celtics are 5-5 over the last 10 games with Workman. Charlotte is 7-3 in their last 10 with Workman, including a couple of losses this season. His home W/L record is 10-6 this season.

Trap Game
This is a game that could very easily become a trap game.  A team with a terrible record and only 3 wins.  Coming off a big win over a good Western Conference team and looking toward the Lakers on Thursday.  .  4 wins in a row.  They could easily let down their guard and play down to the competition.  Hopefully they come out strong and keep their focus and we have Gino time at the Garden again.