Portland Trailblazers (6-9) at Boson Celtics (8-7)
Friday, November 30, 2012
7:30 PM ET The Portland Trailblazers make their only visit to Boston as the Celtics look to bounce back from their meltdown against the Nets.
Game #16, Home Game #9
TV: CSNNE, CSN-POR, NBA-LP 755(POR)/756(BOS)
Radio: WEEI, KXTG
Referees: Bennett Salvatore, Pat Fraher, Leroy Richardson
The Portland Trailblazers make their only visit to Boston as the Celtics look to bounce back from their meltdown against the Nets. The Celtics won the only meeting between these two teams last year, 104-86 at TD Garden. The Celtics have won 5 in a row and 12 of the last 13 games from the Blazers.
The Celtics are the only team in the league to have a winning record in the Rose Garden. Portland is 2-6 on the road while the Celtics are a pedestrian 4-4 at home. The Blazers are 4-6 in their last 10 games and the Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10.
Both teams played on Wednesday and both are coming off a loss. Portland gave the Wizards their very first win on the season while the Celtics lost the game and their cool to the Nets. After the game, the Celtics were called soft by their coach and I expect them to come out motivated to be aggressive and to get the win.
The Blazers are a young and athletic team and won't be a pushover by any means. The Celtics are going to be short handed and stinging from the criticism of their coach. They need to earn this win with strong and smart play on both ends of the court.
In a bit of trivia, in the 1985-86 season, the Portland Trailblazers were the only team to beat the Celtics in the Garden all season.
Brandon Bass vs JJ Hickson
Avery Bradley (shoulders) out
Jeff Green (knee) questionable
Chris Wilcox (illness) questionable
Fab Melo *
*May be called up if Green and Wilcox can't play
Elliot Williams (Achilles) out
Leandro Barbosa vs Damian Lillard
Rondo vs Lillard would have been a great matchup, but with Rondo suspended Doc will probably start Barbosa again. Lillard is leading all rookies in scoring (19.1), assists (6.1) and steals (1.4) and will be a tough matchup for Barbosa, who needs to stick close to him on defense.
Paul Pierce vs Nicolas Batum
Pierce has been struggling of late and looking his age. Batum is a very good athletic player who is averaging 17.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 3.1 assists. He is also 3rd in the league in made 3's. Paul Pierce will have his hands full with Batum and will need to stay with him on defense, especially on the perimeter.
Kevin Garnett vs LaMarcus Aldridge
Aldridge is leading the Blazers in scoring with 20.4 ppg along with 7.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists. He is young, athletic and will be a difficult cover for KG. He is also a good defender who could make things difficult for KG on the offensive end.
Keys to the Game
Defense - The biggest key to every game will be defense. The Celtics must make defense their number 1 priority. They especially have to defend the basket better and keep players from getting tip ins, layups and second chance baskets along with stopping the pick and roll. The Celtics have been very weak on defense so far this season and they need to make an effort to get better on that end.
Rebound - When the Celtics put out the effort to out-rebound their opponents it usually results in a win. But this year, that hasn't been all that often. When they don't make the effort to rebound, it affects the effort in the other areas as well. Neither team is a great rebounding team as the Blazers come in at 29th while the Celtics are 30th. The Celtics have got to make more of an effort to grab rebounds as a team.
Bench - The Celtics' bench must give them quality minutes in order to keep the starters from being worn out by the end of the game. It may be difficult in this game if Wilcox and Green are out and Barbosa moves into the starting lineup. With the roster being thinned out due to injury and suspension, the remaining players off the bench must contribute.
Be Aggressive The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. This doesn't mean aggression like fighting but they have to be the team diving for loose balls, grabbing rebounds, hustling on the court, and driving to the basket. They can't let the other team out hustle them and they can't settle for jumpers.
Move the Ball - With Rondo out, the Celtics have to work harder to move the ball and find the open man. They have to pass the ball but at the same time they need to be careful with those passes and avoid turnovers. They have to make the extra pass and find the open man and not let the ball stick and get stagnant. Hero ball doesn't win many games.
Home Court and Celtics Pride
Once again, the Celtics will be at home and need to establish themselves as a strong home team. They are coming off an embarrassing loss at home to the Nets as they not only lost the game but also lost their cool. This would be a good time for them to find their Celtics Pride and bounce back.
Bennett Salvatore has been an official in the NBA for the past 30 seasons, and has worked 1,684 regular season and 203 playoff games including 25 NBA Finals games. The veteran official has also worked the 1993 and 2002 NBA All-Star Games, the 1993 McDonald’s Championship in Munich, Germany, and the 1997 Mexico Challenge. Prior to joining the NBA, Salvatore spent two years officiating in the CBA, and also has 10 years officiating high school. Salvatore missed the entire 2011-12 season with an injury.
Salvatore may just be the worst ref in the league, and that is saying alot. Almost always one team or the other gets an advantage when he is officiating and I'll give you a hint, it usually isn't the Celtics.
Salvatore made one of the most controversial calls in NBA finals history in game 5 of the 2006 finals. The call basically gave the Heat their championship. Here is Bill Simmons' take on the call.
Salvatore called the foul on Wade's final drive in overtime (remember, the call where ABC couldn't find a replay to show that anyone touched him?) even though he was standing at midcourt a full 35-40 feet from the play, and even though two other refs were closer to the play. Not only was that NOT his call, he butchered it.
Another of Salvatore's "butchered" calls was in the 2008 conference finals when he waved off a contested 3-pointer that Paul Pierce had hoisted over Richard Hamilton, inducing him to leave his feet with a ball fake and land on Pierce's back. Pierce, however, was charged with an offensive foul for creating the contact with Hamilton. The Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10 games with Salvatore. The Blazers are 4-6 in their last 10 games with Salvatore. His home W/L record is 7-4.
Pat Fraher has officiated 667 regular season NBA games and 11 Playoff games entering his 12th season. Prior to joining the NBA, Fraher officiated for seven years in the CBA, where he worked the CBA Finals and All-Star game. In addition, Fraher spent four years with the WNBA, where he officiated playoff games in both the WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Finals. Fraher also has two years of collegiate officiating experience with the NSIC and 10 years of experience as a high school official in his home state of Minnesota. He attended the University of Minnesota where he was awarded the Evans Scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. While at Hastings High School, Fraher was a member of the football, basketball and golf teams.The Celtics are 1-0 this season and 5-5 over their last 10 games with Fraher. He officiated the win over the Bucks where the Celtics took 34 free throws to 26 for the Bucks and the officiating was good. The Blazers are 3-7 over their last 10 games officiated by Fraher. His home W/L record this season is 8-4.
Leroy Richardson served his country for 12 years in the United States Navy (May 1982 – January 1994), and was the 1991 and 1992 Tactragrulant sailor of the year in Dam Neck, Va. He was also awarded the Navy Achievement Medal and two Good Conduct Medals. Richardson was an enlisted surface warfare specialist and underwater sea surveillance specialist, was deployed to the Mediterranean from August 1988 through February 1989 and was stationed in Keflavik, Iceland from April 1986 through May 1987. After leaving the Navy, Richardson decided to pursue officiating full time. Since joining the NBA staff, he has officiated 1,010 regular season games and eight playoff games over the past 17 seasons, and was a member of the crews that officiated the 2000 Schick Rookie Game, 2000 NBA All-Star Saturday and the 2003 Japan Games. Richardson has three years of CBA officiating experience as well as 10 years of Pro-Am officiating experience, including the 1992 Pro Am Nationals. He also has three years of collegiate officiating experience in the Big East, Southeastern and Ohio Valley Conferences. Richardson spent eight years officiating in Virginia high schools, where he worked the VHSL State Tournament.
The Celtics have an 8-2 record in their last 10 games with Richardson as a referee. The last game he officiated for the Celtics was an OT win over Atlanta that was horribly officiated. KG fouled out on a terrible call where the Hawks were holding his jersey and elbowing him in the back and they called the offensive foul on KG. Stiemsma also fouled out with the 5th and 6th fouls coming within seconds of each other and were terrible calls. 12 fouls were called on the Celtics in the 4th quarter to just 4 on the Hawks. In OT they called 4 fouls on the Celtics and none on the Hawks. In an uncharacteristic show of emotion from Danny, he said after the game that he would be sending the tape of the game to the league office because the officiating was so bad. The Blazers are 6-4 in their last 10 with Richardson. He is one of the rare refs with more wins for the road team than the home team. His home W/L record this season is 5-7.