Celtics go for 3rd straight win as they face Divisional foe

rockin' Rondo - Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

The Celtics face their division rival in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference Semifinals as they seek their 3rd straight win.

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Philadelphia 76ers (2-2) at Boston Celtics (2-2)
Friday, November 9, 2012
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #5, Home Game #3
TV: CSNNE, CSNP, NBA LP 753
Radio: WEEI, WPEN
TD Garden
Referees: Rodney Mott, James Williams, Sean Wright

Game Thread l Chat


Boston Celtics Tickets

The Celtics face their division rival in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference Semifinals. It is the first of 4 meetings they will have this season, which include a back to back home and home set in December.

The Sixers are missing their prize offseason free agent acquisition as Andrew Bynum rehabs his injured knee. Both teams have struggled early as they try to incorporate new players find chemistry between them. Both teams are 2-2 and are looking to climb above .500 for the first time this season.

The Sixers have lost six of their last seven regular-season games in Boston and the Celtics also eliminated them in a tough 7 game series. The Sixers certainly will be looking to avenge those losses and were expected to challenge for the Atlantic division title but have been derailed early by injuries. Both teams are coming off an underwhelming win. The Celtics barely beat the woeful Wizards in OT while the Sixers scored just 77 points in a win over the Hornets without Rivers, Davis or Gordon.

The Celtics are trying to improve with each game and would like to establish home court dominance but have struggled to find chemistry among all the new pieces. They will need a better effort against the Sixers than we saw against the Wizards if they hope to get a win in this one. But then again, both teams are struggling and it may be a matter of which team struggles less.

Probable Starters

PG: Rajon Rondo ...................................... SG: Courtney Lee

C: Kevin Garnett

SF: Paul Pierce ....................................... PF: Jared Sullinger

Coach: Doc Rivers

Celtics Reserves

Brandon Bass

Jason Collins

Jason Terry

Jeff Green

Kris Joseph

Fab Melo

Darko Milicic

Leandro Barbosa

Chris Wilcox


Injuries

Avery Bradley (shoulders) out

Probable Starters

PG: Jrue Holiday .................................... SG: Evan Turner

C: Lavoy Allen

SF: Dorell Wright ...................................... PF: Thaddeus Young

Sixers Reserves

Nick Young

Damien Wilkins

Spencer Hawes

Royal Ivey

Arnett Moultrie

Maalik Wayns

Injuries

Kwame Brown (calf) doubtful

Jason Richardson (ankle) questionable

Andrew Bynum (knee) doubtful

Key Matchups

vs

Kevin Garnett vs Lavoy Allen

Allen was one of the players who gave the Celtics problems in last year's playoffs. He's young, athletic and strong. Doc may need to bring out Darko to bully him around a bit.

vs

Rajon Rondo vs Jrue Holiday

As has been the case so many times, as Rondo goes, so go the Celtics. When Rondo is aggressive the Celtics seem to click on all cylinders. When he is passive, they struggle to score and seem to lapse into trying to do too much as individuals instead of playing team ball. They will need him to be aggressive and to set the pace for the game. Holiday has been playing very well for the Sixers and so Rondo will need to defend well, along with running the offense effectively.


Honorable Mention

Paul Pierce vs Evan Turner

Turner is a streaky player. When he is on, he's very tough to guard. Pierce has also been up and down, dominating one game and then struggling the next. Turner is a good defender and so this would be a good time for Jeff Green to have a break out game. Paul Pierce has to be happy that he will no longer have to face Andre Iguodala on the Sixers as that was one matchup that always gave Pierce problems.

Keys to the Game

Defense - As always, defense is key to winning. Period. The Celtics showed some signs of getting back to playing their trademark defense in their last game, but they still have a ways to go. They are ranked 22nd in the league allowing 99.75 points per game on 45% shooting. The Sixers, on the other hand, are ranked 3rd allowing just 86.75 points on 42% shooting. The Celtics are allowing teams to shoot almost 39% from beyond the arc. That's an area where the Sixers have struggled, shooting just over 31% and hitting just 4 of 22 in their last game. But, they are shooting plenty of 3's and so the Celtics have got to guard the perimeter better as they just might start to fall.

Take Care of the Ball - The Celtics tend to turn the ball over way too much. The Celtics need to keep their focus and make smart passes and avoid the costly turnovers that almost always lead to a score for the other team.

Bench Play - The Celtics need to get quality minutes from their bench. Jason Terry came alive in the last game and the move of Brandon Bass to the bench also helped. The Celtics need more out Jeff Green and they need consistent contributions from the reserves.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics need to stay aggressive. They have to be more aggressive going to the hoop and not settling for outside shots. The Celtics were outscored in the paint 40-32 by the Wizards. They have to be more aggressive going to the basket. They have to be aggressive on defense, in going after loose balls, and in going after rebounds. They have to be the team that wants it more.

Game Notes

The Celtics face their division rival in a rematch of last season's Eastern Conference Semifinals. It is the first of 4 meetings they will have this season, which include a back to back home and home set in December.

The Sixers are missing their prize offseason free agent acquisition as Andrew Bynum rehabs his injured knee. Both teams have struggled early as they try to incorporate new players find chemistry between them. Both teams are 2-2 and are looking to climb above .500 for the first time this season.

The Sixers have lost six of their last seven regular-season games in Boston and the Celtics also eliminated them in a tough 7 game series. The Sixers certainly will be looking to avenge those losses and were expected to challenge for the Atlantic division title but have been derailed early by injuries.

The Celtics are trying to improve with each game and would like to establish home court dominance but have struggled to find chemistry among all the new pieces. They will need a better effort against the Sixers than we saw against the Wizards if they hope to get a win in this one.

Official Report

Rodney Mott

Rodney Mott has officiated 923 regular season games and 14 playoff games during his 15-season NBA career. Prior to joining the NBA officiating staff, Mott spent four years officiating in the CBA, eight years officiating in the Los Angeles Pro Am basketball league, three years officiating at the junior college level, and four years officiating high school in San Diego. In 2007, Mott was suspended without pay for 3 games for making an obscene gesture and inappropriate comment toward a fan. Mott challenged the charges and said that they used him as a scapegoat to take attention away from other issues, but the suspension stood. The Celtics are 6-4 over their last 10 games with Mott. The Sixers are 4-6 with Mott in their last 10. His home W/L record this season is 3-1.

James Williams

James Williams enters his third NBA season having officiated 107 regular season games. Williams owns 10 years of experience in the collegiate ranks, having officiated for the NCAA from 2001- 2010. He also officiated two seasons in the WNBA, and has worked two NBA D-League Finals as well as the 2009-10 NBA D-League All-Star Game. He was called up from the D-League last season. He has officiated 8 total games for the Celtics in his career, in which the Celtics are 5-3. The Sixers are 6-4 in their last 10 games with Williams, including a win over the Celtics in the preseason. His home W/L record is 0-1.

Sean Wright

Sean Wright has officiated 406 regular season and nine playoff games in his seven 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 0-1 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 with Wright on the court. One win last season was against the Bobcats where they shot a total of 80 free throws between them and they called every little foul all night. 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). And fast forward to this season where Wright was one of the refs in the Celtics opener against the Heat where once again Rondo was called for a flagrant and a technical after he was completely frustrated by the failure of the refs to call multiple fouls by Wade and Battier against him. The Sixers are 4-6 in their last 10 games with Wright. His home W/L record this season is 3-1.

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