Celtics and Sixers Continue the Battle at the Garden

Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

The Celtics take on the Sixers for the second night in a row as they complete the home and home series.

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Philadelphia 76ers (11-8) at Boston Celtics (10-9)
Saturday, December 8, 2012
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #20, Home Game #11
TV: CSNNE, CSNP, NBA LP 757
Radio: WEEI, WPEN
TD Garden
Referees: Jason Phillips, Dick Bavetta, Josh Tiven

Game Thread l Chat

Boston Celtics Tickets

The Celtics take on the Sixers for the second night in a row as they complete the home and home series. The Celtics are coming off of a heartbreaking loss in over time in the first game. And playing the extra minutes in overtime may result in less energy for this game.

This game will be at home and hopefully the crowd can give them a boost and help them to dig down and find some extra energy. The Sixers also played the extra minutes the night before, but they are younger and it probably won't affect them as much.

The Celtics need to drive the ball more and depend less on jumpers and 3 pointers since their legs may not be there in the second of back to back games. Rondo is coming off of a triple double and pretty much had his way with Jrue Holiday, who might be looking to regain the edge. Rondo needs to continue to play aggressively on both ends of the court.

Rondo appeared to slip and possibly injure his ankle at the end of the game last night, but word is he is fine and will definitely be in the starting lineup tonight. Barbosa and Jared Sullinger are still suffering from some flu like symptoms but are also expected to play tonight.

The Sixers have now won 2 preseason games and 2 regular season games. The Celtics need to make a stand here as this game may come back to haunt them at the end of the season when they are vying for playoff seeding. The Celtics need to dig down and win this one.

Probable Starters

PG: Rajon Rondo ...................................... SG: Jason Terry

C: Kevin Garnett

SF: Paul Pierce ....................................... PF: Brandon Bass

Celtics Reserves

Jared Sullinger

Jason Collins

Courtney Lee

Jeff Green

Kris Joseph

Leandro Barbosa

Chris Wilcox


Injuries

Avery Bradley (shoulders) out

D-League

Fab Melo

Probable Starters

PG: Jrue Holiday .................................... SG: Jason Richardson

C: Lavoy Allen

SF: Evan Turner ...................................... PF: Thaddeus Young

Sixers Reserves

Sixers Reserves

Damien Wilkins

Spencer Hawes

Arnett Moultrie

Maalik Wayns

Kwame Brown

Injuries

Andrew Bynum (knee) out

Royal Ivey (groin) doubtful

Nick Young (toe) questionable

Key Matchups

vs

Paul Pierce vs Evan Turner

Turner is becoming the Sixers go-to guy. He scored 26 points (10-26) and grabbed 10 rebounds in the last game including the game winner. Paul Pierce had an almost identical shooting night with 27 points on 9-24 shooting to go with 4 rebounds and 5 assists. Pierce also played almost 45 minutes and that could be a factor in this game. If his legs aren't there he needs to pass more and shoot less and save his legs for guarding Turner.

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. Rondo had a triple double in the last game, but missed the last shot in both regulation and in OT. The Celtics need him to continue to be aggressive in this game also.

Keys to the Game

Defense - As always, defense is key to winning. Period. The Celtics did a good job of holding the Sixers to 37% shooting in the first game but some of that was the Sixers missing open shots. The Celtics need to ramp up the defense even more. The Sixers scored 40 points in the paint and the Celtics need to do better at defending the basket.

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. They turned the ball over 18 times for 21 Sixers points. That was the difference in the game. They must take better care of the ball.

Rebound - When the Celtics put out the effort to win the battle of the boards, they usually win.. Rebounding is mostly effort and will and when the Celtics put the effort on the glass it usually shows up in other areas also. They did a good job of staying with the Sixers in the rebounding category and they need to continue to do that again in this game.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics need to stay aggressive. They have to be more aggressive going to the hoop and not settling for outside shots. 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.

X-Factors

Back to Back and Home Court

The Celtics seem to be affected more when they play back to back games. Hopefully they don't run out of gas before the end. The home crowd should give them a bit of added energy.

Official Report

Jason Phillips

Jason Phillips has officiated 766 regular season games and 27 playoff games since joining the NBA officiating staff 12 seasons ago. In addition, Phillips has six seasons of experience officiating in the CBA, working the 1999 CBA Finals. He also officiated three seasons in the WNBA, working the 1999 WNBA Finals. Phillips spent five years officiating at the high school level in his home state of Texas. Phillips earned a Bachelor of Business Administration degree at Tarleton State. In addition, he played varsity basketball, golf and baseball while at Cisco High School in Texas.

The Celtics are are 1-0 this season and 6-4 over their last 10 games with Phillips as a ref. One loss last season was game 2 vs the Sixers that he officiated along with Dan Crawford in which KG was called for an offensive foul with 10 seconds left and a chance to win the game. The win this season was against the Raptors and the officiating was decent. It was Phillips and fellow ref for this game, Josh Tiven, that got Tommy to swear on the air last season in a game against Houston about the refs falling for all the blank blank flops. The Sixers are 5-5 in their last 10 games with Phillips. His home W/L record this season is 8-6.

Dick Bavetta

Entering the 2012-13 NBA eason, Bavetta has officiated 2,546 consecutive regular season games and 259 playoff games, including 27 Finals games, never having missed an assigned game throughout his entire career. He was a member of the officiating crew that worked the 1989, 1995 and 2006 NBA All-Star Games, 1997 McDonald’s Championship in Paris, 1993 Mexico Challenge, 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona and 1990 Japan Games in Tokyo. Prior to joining the NBA, Bavetta was an official with the Eastern League (CBA) for nine years, and he has also officiated in the Rucker League, FIBA, Jersey Shore Basketball League, as well as both the Public and Catholic High School leagues in New York City. Bavetta attended St. Francis College in Brooklyn. He is a member of the New York City Catholic High School Hall of Fame. He added to his personal honors when he received the National Pro-Am Lifetime Achievement Award and also was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame.

There is no shortage of controversy surrounding Bavetta. He was singled out in Tim Donaghy's book for being a "company man" and carrying out league agendas in games. Bavetta also likes to keep games close and will often make a lot of calls against a team that pulls out to a lead to keep the game more exciting. After watching a game where Bavetta has officiated, it's very easy to believe Donaghy's claims.

He was left off the playoff roster the last two seasons and there were rumors of a forced retirement but here he is back again for another season. In his off time, Bavetta doubles as the Crypt Keeper. The Celtics are 1-0 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games with Bavetta on the court. The win this season was in OT over the Magic in which the teams were allowed to play and both teams took 19 free throws. The Sixers are 1-1 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games with Bavetta. His home W/L record is 10-4.

Josh Tiven

Joshua Tiven is entering his third NBA season having officiated 109 NBA games. Tiven has seven years of NCAA officiating experience, as well as two years of WNBA officiating experience and two seasons of WNBA Playoff experience. He also has worked three NBA D-League Finals, as well as the 2007-08 NBA D-League All-Star Game.

The Celtics are 1-1 this season and 5-5 over their last 10 games with Tiven. The loss this season was New York in OT in the preseason in which the Knicks shot 38 free throws to 33 for the Celtics. The win was the Orlando game, also worked with Phillips. The Sixers are 7-3 in their last 10 with Tiven over the past 2 seasons. Tiven lives in Connecticut and he has a twin brother who is a big Celtics fan and who was shown in the crowd at the Garden in a game he officiated there. His home W/L record this season is 9-3.

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