Celtics hit the road again to take on woeful Bobcats

Boston Celtics (26-22) at Charlotte Bobcats (7-39)
Monday, March 26
7:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #49, Road Game #24
Time Warner Cable Arena
Referees:   Monty McCutchen,  Kevin Scott,  Sean Wright
After a brief stay and one game at home, the Celtics are back on the road again, this time in Charlotte.  This is the second of 3 meetings this season with the Bobcats.  The Celtics beat the Bobcats 94-84 in Boston back on February 7. The Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10 while the Bobcats are 2-8 in their last 10 games.  The Celtics are 9-14 on the road and the Bobcats are 4-17 at home. 

The Bobcats have the worst record in the league and that is worrisome.  The Celtics seem to play down to the worst teams and over the years, the Bobcats have given the Celtics trouble, even though they were at the bottom of the standings.  The Celtics must win these games they should win now as their schedule gets very tough down the stretch. 

With Philly's loss to the Spurs, the Celtics are just 1/2 game back of the Atlantic Division lead and they could tie the Sixers with a win in this one.  Ray Allen is expected to miss this game but Avery Bradley showed on Monday that he can fill in for Ray and be effective.  The Celtics are still short handed, but other players are stepping up and filling in. 

The Celtics are playing in yet another back to back game on the road.  With the Bobcats in full tank mode and playing for pingpong balls, this should be a win for the Celtics in spite of playing on the road and in spite of playing back to back.  All they have to do is try. 

Probable Starters
Rajon Rondo.....Avery Bradley ..... Paul Pierce.....Brandon Bass.......Kevin Garnett
Celtics Reserves
JaJuan Johnson
E'Twaun Moore
Sasha Pavlovic
Greg Stiemsma
Keyon Dooling
Marquis Daniels
Ryan Hollins 


Mickael Pietrus (concussion)  out
Ray Allen (ankle) out
Greg Stiemsma (foot) probable

Probable Starters
PG......SG.....SF.....PF ..... C
DJ Augustin......Gerald Henderson....Corey Maggette........Tyrus Thomas.......Bismack Biyombo

Bobcats Bench

DJ White
Kemba Walker
Byron Mullens
Derrick Brown
Reggie Williams
Matt Carroll
Cory Higgins

DeSagana Diop (hamstring) questionable
Eduardo Najera (knee)  out 

Key Matchups
Kevin Garnett vs Bismack Biyombo
Biyombo is a promising young center but KG loves to get into rookies' heads.  KG at center presents a mis-match for teams and Biyombo on KG is a mismatch.  Expect to see Thomas on KG and Biyombo on Bass.     I expect a big game from KG at least in the first 3 quarters.  He should be sitting out the 4th. 

Rajon Rondo vs DJ Augustin
DJ Augustin is a good young point guard, but he's not a star.  Rondo tends to play harder when up against the other star PG's in the league.  Hopefully with every game being important for playoff seeding, Rondo will have a big game, in spite of the competition.  It would also be fun to see Rondo and Avery running together again in this game. 
Keys to the Game
Focus and Energy - When the Celtics face teams with losing records, they often come out flat and lack focus and energy and they lose to teams they should easily beat.     The Celtics have got to stay focused and play with energy the entire game because the Bobcats always play hard even though they don't have the most talent in the league,  and will take advantage of any lapse from the Celtics. 

Defense -   The Celtics need to make defense their priority.   Games are won on the defensive end. The effort that the Celtics put out on the defensive end carries over to the offensive end as well.   If they don't get stops, chances are they don't get the win.   The Bobcats average a league worst 87.4 points per game so if the Celtics play just normal defense they should be fine. 

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.   Rebounding is effort and the Celtics must put out the effort to win the battle of the boards.   

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. 

Official Report

Monty McCutchen
Monty McCutchen has officiated 1,085 regular season, 80 playoff, and four Finals games. He worked the 2007 NBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas and was a member of the crew that officiated the 1996 and 1997 Mexico Challenges, as well as the 1998 Schick Rookie Game. Prior to joining the NBA, McCutchen spent four seasons in the CBA, where he worked the All Star game his second year and the playoffs all four years. He also officiated the CBA Finals the last three years he was with the league. McCutchen missed the 1998-99 season with a ruptured Achilles tendon. He is a former elementary and middle school teacher and is fondly remembered by his students as a really nice guy. In searching for information on him, I found a Cavs' blog that blamed a loss to the Celtics on the officiating of Monty McCutchen. That was the game where Mike Brown was ejected and the Cavs made a furious comeback but fell short. Other than that, there's not a lot of controversy about McCutchen. The Celtics are 1-0 this season and 7-3 in their last 10 games with McCutchen on the court. The win this season was against the Knicks where they let them play and the Celtics shot 24 free throws to 21 for the Knicks. The Bobcats are 1-3 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 with McCutchen. His home W/L record this season is 25-13.

Kevin Scott
Kevin Scott is listed as a non-staff official, whatever that means. Scott has 11 years of experience at the college level and he has also worked 4 years in the D-League. He was one of several D-league refs who officiated 8 NBA games in the 2010 season. He was also one of the replacement officials during the referee lockout in 2009. He may be remembered for ejecting Bobcats'coach Larry Brown from an exhibition game that season and then calling security to escort him from the court when he didn't leave quickly enough for Scott. Brown was fined $60,000 for verbally abusing Scott. This will be Scott's second career game for the Celtics. The first was a win over NJ where the Nets shot 28 free throws to 17 for the Celtics. The Bobcats are 0-2 with Scott all time (including that infamous game back in 2010). His home W/L record this season is 9-8.

Sean Wright
Wright has officiated 353 regular season and five playoff games in his six seasons. Prior to joining the NBA, Wright was an official in the NBA Development League
where he participated in the playoffs in 2003-04 and the championship game in 2005.
Wright’s collegiate officiating experience includes working in the SEC, Colonial, Big South, Southern, Ohio Valley, Atlantic Sun and Southwestern Athletic Conferences. He participated in the Ohio Valley Conference championship in 2003 and the Men’s NCAA Division II tournament in 2004. He officiated the Eduardo Najera Foundation charity basketball game in 2006 and the Terrell Owens Foundation charity basketball game in 2005. The Celtics are 2-1 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 with Wright on the court. He officiated a win over the Nets this season in which the Celtics took 21 free throws to 10 for the Nets. The other win was also vs the Nets (also with Kevin Scott) where the Nets shot 28 free throws to 17 for the Celtics. He also called a loss vs Detroit where the Pistons took 46 free throws to just 15 for the Celtics. Tommy Heinsohn called it the worst officiated game of the season. It was Sean Wright that Rondo threw the ball at resulting in his ejection and suspension (which apparently was only suspendable for Rondo since Noah also threw the ball at a ref and got no suspension). The Bobcats are 0-2 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 games with Wright. His home W/L record this season is 23-15.

Fatigue and Mentality
The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games on the road.  This should be an easy game for them, but with this team, you never know.  And that brings us to their mentality.   They tend to play down to the teams with the worst records.  They need to come out playing like they are playing the Heat and they can have a nice rest and playing time for the rookies.