Celtics Looking to Declaw Bobcats in the Home Opener

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Charlotte Bobcats (0-0) at Boston Celtics (1-0) 
Wednesday, October 28
7:30 PM ET
Game #2,  Home Game #1
TV CSN HD, FSCR, LP 755,756
TD Banknorth Garden
Referees:    Scott Foster,  Brian Forte,  Gary Zielinski 

Game Thread   l    Chat 

The Celtics opened the season last night with a victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers.  While this was a great victory, it is just one win out of 82.  The Celtics need to be ready to play every night, whether they are playing a team like the Cavs who will be vying for the top spot in the East or a team like the Bobcats who will probably finish somewhere closer to the bottom of the pack.  

In spite of their record, the Bobcats are one of those young and athletic teams that always seem to give the Celtics problems.  The Celtics have had to scrap out just about every game with this team over the past two seasons.   Boston won two of three against Charlotte last season, but two of the games went to overtime - including one in double OT - and the one that ended in regulation was decided by five points. The Celtics have won seven of nine at home against the Bobcats but almost every one of those wins were hard fought.

The Bobcats are young and athletic and that has given the Celtics problems in the past, but this is another time and another team.  Hopefully they will be able to set the tone early in this one and get an easy win. 

Like the Celtics, the  Bobcats were busy this summer and brought  in Raja Bell and traded Emeka Okafor for Tyson Chandler.   . Bell was expected to start alongside Felton but Bell suffered a torn ligament in his left wrist which may require surgery and so the Bobcats will be missing what they hope will become a key starter for them.  Their starting center, Tyson Chandler is also recovering from surgery and isn't 100% yet. 

The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games while this is the season opener for the Bobcats.   Fatigue could be a factor for the Celtics, especially for Kevin Garnett who is still getting himself into game shape.   The bench will once again be important to keep the starters from wearing out by the end of their second game in 2 nights.

Coach: Doc Rivers
Average Age: 27.8
Average Height: 6-6
Average Weight: 224

Probable Starters

PG:  Rajon Rondo
SG:  Ray Allen
SF:   Paul Pierce
PF:   Kevin Garnett
C:    Kendrick Perkins   

Rasheed Wallace
Marquis Daniels
Eddie House
Shelden Williams
Lester Hudson
JR Giddens

Tony Allen (ankle) day to day
Bill Walker (knee) out
Brian Scalabrine (ankle) day to day
Big Baby Davis  (thumb) out 

Coach: Larry Brown
Average Age: 26.2
Average Height: 6-7
Average Weight: 223

Probable Starters

PG: Raymond Felton
SG:  Stephen Graham  
SF:   Gerald Wallace   
PF:   Boris Diaw   
C:   Tyson Chandler

Nazr Mohammed
Vladimir Radmanovic
DeSagana Diop
Gerald Henderson
Derrick Brown
Alexis Ajinca
DJ Augustin

Raja Bell (wrist)  day to day
Flip Murray  (shin)  day to day

Key Matchups
KG has a height advantage over Diaw and so, if healthy, should be able to exploit this matchup.  However, Diaw is quick and so KG needs to be able to get back on defense of Diaw will make him pay.   

Rajon Rondo vs Raymond Felton 
Rondo is playing for a big contract and needs to prove night in and night out that he is worth it. 

Honorable Mention
Paul Pierce vs Gerald Wallace.   
Wallace always seems to play his best games against the Celtics.  Pierce will have to step up his defense as Wallace is one of the main cogs of the Bobcats offense.   

Keys to the Game
Start strong   The Celtics got off to a very slow start and were down 13-2 against the Cavs. It takes more out of them to have to play catch up and need to get off to a good start in this game.

Defense  Defense is going to be a key to every game this season and to winning  another championship.   They have said they want to be the best defensive team ever and will need to play better defense than we have seen so far if they want to accomplish that goal.

Limit turnovers  One of the Celtics flaws is still allowing too many turnovers.  They need to take better care of the ball and not give away as many possessions.

Bench play  Against the Cavs, the Celtics bench brought energy into the game when the starters seemed to be lacking it.  It was the bench that brought the Celtics back from the 14 point deficit to take the lead.   This bench is going to be crucial in a lot of games this season because they are deep and talented and should be able to take advantage of most of the other benches they face.

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