With Rondo Back, Celtics Look to Start a Win Streak

Brace Hemmelgarn-US PRESSWIRE

The Celtics welcome former Celtic Greg Stiemsma and the Timberwolves to the Garden for their only visit to Boston this season.

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Minnesota Timberwolves (8-8) at Boston Celtics (9-8)
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #18, Home Game #10
TV: CSN-NE, FSNN-MN, NBA-LP 755(MIN)/756(BOS)
Radio: WEEI, WCCO-AM
TD Garden
Referees: Michael Smith, Courtney Kirkland, Tre Maddox

Game Thread l Chat

Boston Celtics Tickets


The Celtics welcome former Celtic Greg Stiemsma and the Timberwolves to the Garden for their only visit to Boston this season. The Wolves are 3-5 on the road and the Celtics are 5-4 at home. The Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10 games while the Wolves are 3-7 in their last 10. In their only meeting last season, the Celtics beat the Wolves 100-79 at the Target Center.

The Celtics should be well rested as they have been off since Sunday. Doc gave the older players Monday off from practice as well. Rondo has been off a week, since his ejection vs the Nets last Wednesday so he may even be a little rusty. The Wolves are playing in the second of back to back games, beating the Sixers 105-88 in Philly on Tuesday night.

The Celtics have won 10 straight meetings between these two teams while holding them to an average of 91.6 points per game and 42.1 percent shooting. On the other side, the Celtics are averaging 106.8 points per game as they won the last six in a row against the Wolves at home Their last loss at home to the Timberwolves came pre-KG era on March 6, 2005.

The Wolves enter this game coming off their best game of the season, a 105-88 victory on the road over the Philadelphia 76ers. They shot 53.2% from the field in that game, which was their third win in their last 4 games. Kevin Love played just 25 minutes in the blow out win and should be rested up to take on the Celtics. Josh Howard, who joined the Wolves just last month, had a breakout game last night with 16 points and 10 rebounds.


Rondo has said that now that he's back he wants the Celtics to go on a streak of winning 8 or more games in a row. They especially need to start winning more consistently at home. Even though KG says that he has no feelings about beating the Wolves, every player gets a certain satisfaction from beating their former teams. I expect the Celtics to want to win this one for KG. The Celtics need to come out aggressively and be ready to play hard as this game won't be easy with how well the Wolves have been playing of late.




Probable Starters
PG SGSF PF C
Rajon Rondo..... Jason Terry ..... Paul Pierce...... Brandon Bass ..... Kevin Garnett

Celtics Reserves
Jared Sullinger
Jason Collins
Courtney Lee
Jeff Green
Courtney Lee
Chris Wilcox

Injuries
Avery Bradley (shoulders) out

Red Claws
Fab Melo
Kris Joseph



Probable Starters
PG SG SF PF C
Luke Ridnour.....Malcolm Lee..... Josh Howard ..... Kevin Love..... Nikola Pekovic

Wolves Reserves
Alexy Shved
Greg Stiemsma
JJ Barea
Dante Cunningham
Lou Admunson


Injuries

Andrei Kirilenko (back) out
Ricky Rubio (knee) out
Chase Budinger (knee) out
Brandon Roy (knee) out


Key Matchups
vs
Brandon Bass vs Kevin Love
Kevin Love is a very impressive player. He is averaging 21.7 points per game and 15.3 rebounds per game. He shoots the 3 well enough to win the 3 point contes and can score inside as well. Bass is going to have his hands full trying to keep Love off his game.

vs
Rajon Rondo vs Luke Ridnour
Rondo should have a speed advantage over Ridnour. He should also be well rested and ready to play. As Rondo goes, so go the Celtics and they need Rondo to be aggressive and set the pace for the game.


Keys to the Game
Defense - The Celtics must defend. They've been playing defense in spurts and that just isn't enough. They have struggled to get stops at times and they need to bring their tough defensive game on a consistent basis. The offense feeds off of the defense and if the Celtics can't get stops they struggle on the other end as well.

Rebound - The Celtics must get rebounds to prevent second chance points and fast breaks. Rebounding takes effort and desire and the Celtics have got to show both and crash the boards as a team. Kevin Love might just out-rebound the Celtics all by himself if they don't aggressively crash the boards.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics have to be aggressive in going after loose balls and rebounds and in taking the ball to the basket. They also have to be aggressive on defense. When they are aggressive in going to the hoop good things happen. They must be the more aggressive team and they have to stop depending on jumpers, especially when the jumpers aren't falling.

X-Factors
Rust vs Rest vs Fatigue
The Celtics have been off since Sunday and so will be rested. Let's hop that the rest doesn't cause them to come in rusty. The Celtics should look to take advantage of the fact that the Wolves could be fatigued playing in back to back games on the road.

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