After a disappointing five game west coast trip, the Celtics finally return home to Boston. During the trip the Celtics won a mere 2 of 5 games on the road; completely demolishing the Phoenix Suns thanks to Uncle Jeff, and winning a close one against the Jazz in Utah with Pierce's clutch baskets down the stretch.
Tonight the C's return home (for only one game before going back on the road) to face the Warriors who will play their 4th game of their eastern road trip, currently sitting at 1-2. In their previous match up in New York, Stephen Curry EXPLODED for 54 points and 7 assists with a mirage of tough three pointers in the loss to the Knicks. Being up against an excellent three point shooting team, the Celtics will have to find a way to limit long distance jumpers from Curry, Thompson, Jack, etc. Bradley and Lee have their work cut out for them (seems as if they always do now-a-days since the guard positions are flourishing and the big positions are depleting.)
In the teams' previous meeting in late December, Boston, well... they played like sh!t. Seriously. Garnett: 6 points, 3 rebounds, +/- of -25. Pierce: 4-20 from the field with 13 points and a +/- of -27. JET: 6-19 on his field goals, also with 13 points. Jeff Green: 6 points on 2-11 shooting. In a game where the Celtics are missing Rajon Rondo AND Avery Bradley with injuries, you can't expect to win, let alone play well if the guys mentioned above play like crap. The lone bright spots in green were Courtney Lee and Jared Sullinger, who finished with 18/5 and 12/8 respectively. On the other side, the Warriors played wonderfully. Executing plays with ease. Shot 63% from downtown. Snatching boards and getting 2nd chance points, no sweat. It was tough to watch as the Warriors breezed to a 101-83 win on that night.
Fast forward to tonight - both teams come in struggling. In fact, both teams are 3-3 in their previous six games. Keys to help the Celtics grab a W and start another winning streak - rebound the ball and defend the 3.
REBOUND, please! - The Celtics are, to no surprise, a terrible rebounding team. Point blank. At times (times, meaning once or twice a month) they have shown they can compete on the boards - tonight must be one of those times! GSW averages 44 boards (11.1 for David Lee) per contest and seemingly endless 2nd chance points. Boston's bigs must put in extra effort on the defensive glass to deny the Warriors' extra opportunities. Andrew Bogut, another solid rebounder for the Warriors, is out again due to injury so that may be a plus for the Celtics.
Perimeter Lock-down - The other night against the Knicks, Curry knocked down ELEVEN (11, ONCE) three point shots. Oh, and missed only two. Mostly cause this guy is an excellent shooter, somewhat because, well its the Knicks defense we're talking about. The Knicks. The Celtics on the other hand have two pretty decent perimeter defenders and their team will need their defense more than their offense for this one. Lock-down Curry! Or, try to.
If the Celtics can get these two keys down pact tonight I definitely see a W, but the task won't be easy. Also, if it comes down to it, I hope Doc runs a play instead of letting Pierce iso to create a game winning shot. I cringe every time he shoots that patented step-back-fade-away jumper at the buzzer. Doc, Pierce is clearly a clutch player but so are Garnett and Terry! Use them too!