7:00 PM ET
TV: ESPN & CSN
For the most part, you could say that the Celtics have met every challenge they’ve been faced with in the regular season. You could say that they have beaten all 29 possible opponents, and that they look as though they are the best team in the league. However, there has been one club that has given the green problems – the Washington Wizards. The C’s didn’t allow Gilbert Arenas’ game or mouth to show them up on opening night, but the Arenas-less Wizards beat the Celtics twice in a row back in January. They hold a 2-1 regular season edge over the C’s, and with the possibility of a Celtics-Wizards second round matchup, the last thing the Celtics need is for a team to believe they can beat them.
If it were up to Doc Rivers, the big guns would have sat out last night’s game, but they talked the potential Coach of the Year out of it at dinner the night before. They suited up, but each starter was held to a maximum of 22 minutes, and could do nothing but cheer the team on down the stretch of the overtime victory. It is uncertain what Doc’s plans are tonight. Does he stick with what he has been doing and limit the minutes of the team’s stars, or does he make a statement to the Wizards on national television?
That question will be answered tonight, as the Wizards will host the C’s on ESPN (as well as CSN, for the locals) at 7:00 pm ET.
C Kendrick Perkins / Brendan Haywood
PF Kevin Garnett / Antawn Jamison
SF Paul Pierce / Caron Butler
SG Ray Allen / DeShawn Stevenson
PG Rajon Rondo / Antonio Daniels
Key Matchup: Paul Pierce vs. Caron Butler
When talking about the top small forwards in the NBA, both of these guys are near the top of the list. They are fairly similar as players, too. They can attack the rim, handle the ball, slash, shoot, create for others, and play excellent defense when their mind is set on it. Whether Pierce plays significant minutes tonight or not, it’ll be fun to watch these two go at it, especially after the amount of jawing that went on between the two in their last meeting.
Celtics X-Factor: Tony Allen
Tony Allen had a pretty solid outing last night, and he’s a guy we need to see put together two respectable games in a row. He needs to play with confidence, attack the basket, take the open jumpers that the defense gives him, limit his turnovers, and work hard on defense. He will likely get a shot at defending Gilbert Arenas tonight, so that’s yet another challenge for him. Make the best of it, TA.
BOS – Sam Cassell (sore back – day-to-day)
BOS – Scot Pollard (torn tendon in left ankle – out for season)
WAS – Etan Thomas (recovering from heart surgery – out for season)
Celtics Keys to the Game
- Limit Turnovers
- Own the Boards
- Let Them Know Who’s Boss