Boston Celtics (10-8) at Philadelphia 76ers (10-8)
Regular Season Game #19, Road Game #9
Friday, December 7
7:00 PM ET
TV: ESPN, CSNNE, CSN-P
Radio: WEEI, WPEN
Wells Fargo Center
Referees: Tony Brothers, Curtis Blair, Eric Lewis
Game Thread l Chat
Boston Celtics Tickets
The Celtics start a rare back to back home and home series with the Sixers in Philly as they seek to avenge their 3 earlier losses to them. This is the second of 4 regular season games between these two Atlantic Division rivals. The Celtics lost twice to the Sixers in the preseason and then again at home in their first regular season meeting so the Sixers will come in with some confidence that they can beat the Celtics in this game as well.
Things have not gone exactly the way the Sixers had planned when they traded Andre Iguodala for Andrew Bynum, who is expected to miss the entire season with knee problems. They have been inconsistent, however, just as the Celtics have been. They are 6-4 in their last 10 games while the Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10.
Both teams played their last game vs the Timberwolves. The Sixers lost to them 105-88 on Tuesday, while the Celtics beat them 104-94 on Wednesday. The Sixers are 6-5 at home while the Celtics are 4-4 on the road. While the teams have identical 10-8 records, the Sixers are in 3rd place in the Atlantic while the Celtics are in 4th place by virtue of their head to head record. They are both 3.5 games behind the Knicks, who are in first place in the division.
These teams will play each other again on Saturday in Boston. Back to Back wins against their Atlantic division foe would be a nice start on that 8 game win streak that Rondo was talking about. On the other hand, two losses would put them back at .500 and solidly in 4th place, not exactly where the Celtics want to be.
Probable Starting Matchups
Avery Bradley (shoulders) out
Jared Sullinger (illness) probable
Leandro Barbosa (illness) probable
Andrew Bynum (knee) out
Royal Ivey (groin) doubtful
Nick Young (toe) questionable
Rajon Rondo vs Jrue Holiday
As Rondo goes, so go the Celtics. He has said that it's time for the Celtics to go on a win streak and for them to do that, Rondo will have to lead them. Jrue Holiday has been emerging as a very good point guard and will challenge Rondo on both ends of the court.
Jason Terry vs Jason Richardson
Both of these Jasons are capable of putting points on the board in a hurry. This will be a battle to keep the other one from scoring while being able to score. Richardson started the season hot from beyond the arc but was just 1-9 in his last 2 games. Hopefully that doesn't mean that he's due for a break out game. Jason Terry has been playing very well lately and hopefully he continues to do so.
Paul Pierce vs Evan Turner
Turner is a streaky player. When he is on, he's very tough to guard. He has given the Celtics problems in the past. In their last meeting, he had 25 points and 11 rebounds. 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 step up if Pierce continues to struggle.
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 and against the Blazers, but they are still wildly inconsistent on defense. It would be nice to see them put together a string of strong defensive efforts. The offense so often feeds off the defense and when they are hustling on defense, the offense seems to flow much smoother.
Rebound- The Celtics out rebounded a very good rebounding Timberwolves team 45-41. As with defense, they have been very inconsistent with their rebounding efforts as well. Against the Thunder and the Wolves when they have extra motivation to win the game, they put out the extra effort on the boards and not surprisingly, get the win. They need to put that effort out every game and when they show the effort on the boards, it seems to translate to the other areas of the game as well.
Take Care of the Ball - The Celtics seem to cruise in some games and then allow the other team into the game with a string of careless turnovers. They have to take care of the ball and not get careless when they get a lead.
Be Aggressive - The Celtics need to be the more aggressive team. They have to be more aggressive going to the basket, diving for loose balls, playing defense, and grabbing rebounds. The more aggressive team will have the momentum and will get the calls.
Focus on the Road
The Celtics are on the road so they need to be focused on playing the right way if they want to get this win. They need to defend, rebound, and go to the basket.
Tony Brothers is entering his 19th season as an NBA official and has officiated 1,093 regular season games and 61 playoff games during his career. Brothers made his first NBA Finals appearance during the 2011-12 season. He was a member of the crew that officiated the 1996 Mexico Challenge, 1998 Schick Rookie Game, 1999 McDonald’s Championship in Milan, Italy and the 2008 China Games. Prior to joining the NBA, Brothers spent four years officiating in the CBA, including three CBA Finals and a CBA All-Star Game. He has one year of collegiate officiating experience at the Junior College level. Brothers also has seven years of high school officiating experience in Virginia, including three state tournaments. As a way of honoring his late mother and to give back to his community, Brothers operates Sassy Properties, an organization dedicated to providing quality and affordable housing for disadvantaged families. He is also a board member of BillBro, an organization that provides scholarships for women and minorities. In 1994 he started a mentor program in the Tidewater, Va. schools. There are several articles about what a terrible ref Brothers is and detailing his misdeeds. He has angered a lot of fans of just about every team because of bad calls, no calls, and one sided officiating. The Celtics are 1-1 this season with Brothers. He called a 115-85 win over the Nets in preseason and also the first regular season loss to the Nets. Brothers was responsible for calling Bogans' clothesline and choke job of Barbosa a regular foul. He also called a clean block a foul down the stretch which could have changed the outcome of the game. The Celtics are 4-6 in their last 10 games with Brothers on the court. The Sixers are 5-5 with Brothers in their last 10. His home W/L record this season is 9-4.
Curtis Blair is entering his fifth NBA season having officiated 210 regular season games. Blair has six seasons of NBA D-League experience and worked the 2008 NBA D-League Finals. He also officiated in several college conferences, including the Atlantic 10, Atlantic Coast Conference and the CAA. Blair graduated with a degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Richmond in 1992 where he was a member of the 1991 Men’s basketball team that upset Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament. He was drafted by the Houston Rockets in 1992 and played professionally in Australia, Austria and Turkey. Celtics are 8-2 in their last 10 games with Blair as an official. He called the Lakers game last season in which LA shot 26 free throws to 12 for the Celtics and the officiating was one sided against the Celtics. The Sixers are 4-6 in their last 10 games with Blair. His home W/L record this season is 7-5.
Lewis has spent the last eight seasons in the NBA, officiating 481 regular season games and 10 playoff games. Lewis spent two years working in the USBL, officiating the Finals in 2002 and 2004. Prior to that he spent three seasons in the NBA Development League, where he worked the 2004 D-League Finals and the 2003 and 2004 Playoffs. He tallied eight years in the college ranks, participating in the Atlantic Sun, Ohio Valley, Sunshine State, Florida Sun and Mid-Florida conferences. Lewis officiated in Florida high schools for six years. As a student, he was a member of the basketball team in both high school and college. The Celtics are 1-0 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games with Lewis as a ref. The win this season was over the Thunder. One loss last season was at home vs Cleveland. The refs in that game were terrible and allowed hacking all night by the Cavs. They failed to call a very obvious foul on the Cavs against Pierce in crunch time. The Cavs took 20 free throws to 14 for the Celtics. Another loss with Lewis last season was the against the Bulls where the officiating was again terrible. The Bulls shot 9 free throws before the Celtics got to the line even once and the Bulls shot 28 free throws to 14 for the Celtics. The Sixers are 1-0 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 with Lewis. His home W/L record this season is 9-6.