Boston Celtics (4-6) at Minnesota Timberwolves (6-4)
Saturday, November 16, 2013
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #11, Road Game #6
TV: CSN-NE, FS North, NBA-LP 762(DTV)/755(Xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, WCCO-AM, WBZ
Referees: Danny Crawford, Kane Fitzgerald, JT Orr
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The Celtics begin a tough stretch of games with a stop in Minnesota. These two teams faced each other in the preseason, ending with a 104-89 loss for the Celtics. The Celtics have won their last two on the road, beating the Magic and Heat and are hoping to recapture that winning edge as they head out on the road once again, this time to take on the Timberwolves.
Both teams are playing in the second half of back to back games and both had to travel overnight, so there is no advantage for either team in that sense. The Wolves lost in Denver while the Celtics lost to the Blazers at home.
The Celtics are 29-17 all time vs the Wolves and are 14-9 in Minnesota. A victory in April of last year stopped an 11 game Celtics win streak against the Wolves. The Celtics are 2-3 on the road while the Wolves are 4-1 at home.
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PG SG SF PF C
Rajon Rondo (ACL)out
PG SG SF PF C
Shabazz Muhammad (ankle) questionable
Chase Budinger (knee) out
Ronny Turiaf (head) out
Kevin Love is a tough cover for anyone and is a 20-20 threat on any given night. Brandon Bass has been praised for his defense this season and he will have a challenge in this one to defend Love. If Bass has an off night, we might see a lot more of Jared Sullinger in this matchup.
Pekovic is a strong and athletic big man and Kelly is going to need to defend as well as to make him work on the defensive end. Faverani might be the better match up here. Kelly doesn't have the muscle to wrestle with the physical centers on the block.
Jordan Crawford vs Ricky Rubio
Rubio is a very good point guard and Jordan will need to stick with him on defense. Rubio has also been known to slack off on defense and so Crawford may be able to get his shot a bit easier against him.
Keys to the Game
Defense - The Celtics must defend. The offense feeds off of the defense and if the Celtics can't get stops they struggle on the other end as well. In their last two losses, they have allowed way too many easy baskets. They have to make defense their priority.
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. Pekovic is a beast around the basket and the Celtics must box him out.
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. The Celtics have to play like they want it more.
Set the Pace- The Celtics must run from the beginning of the game until the final buzzer. Running will allow them to get easy baskets as they get down the court before the defenses set up.
Road Game and Back to Back
Once again the Celtics are on the road and playing back to back games. Since Minnesota is also playing in back to back games, whichever team is better conditioned and can keep the pressure on till the end will get the win. Also, the Celtics have to keep their focus playing in front of a hostile crowd.
Entering his 29th NBA season, Dan Crawford has officiated 1,861 regular season and 252 Playoff games, including 29 NBA Finals games. During his NBA tenure, Crawford has officiated the 1994 and 2001 NBA All-Star Games, and the 1992 Japan Games in Yokohama. Prior to joining the NBA, Crawford spent four years officiating in the CBA. He has eight years
of collegiate officiating experience in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conferences, and he officiated the 1983 and 1984 National Junior College Nationals.
Crawford has been honored for his achievements in the Northeastern (Ill.) Wall of Fame. Crawford was a member of the Northeastern University basketball team.
Crawford has a degree in Physical Education from Northeastern.
After one of the Celtics playoff games in Chicago in round 1 in 2008, there was some controversy when he was seen leaving the arena with his family all decked out in Chicago Bulls gear (along with Marc Davis and his family). He was in the news last season because he was accused of having a bias against Marc Cuban because the Mavs were 2-16 in games officiated by Crawford two seasons ago and Cuban was very vocal about it.
The Celtics are 2-8 over their last 10 games with Crawford officiating. The Celtics haven't fared much better than the Mavs with Crawford as a ref. Amazingly, one win last season was over the Heat where the Celtics took 27 free throws to 20 for the Heat and the officiating was pretty good. He also called a loss at Golden State where the Celtics took 21 free throws to 16 for the Warriors and the refs pretty much let them play. His only other game with the Celtics last season was Game 3 vs the Knicks in the playoffs where the Celtics took 18 free throws to 8 for the Knicks and they let them play. The Wolves are 3-7 over their last 10 games with Crawford. His home W/L record is 4-4 this season.
Fitzgerald has officiated 242 games in his four seasons as an NBA official. Fitzgerald started refereeing at the age of 18 at the high school level in New Jersey. Prior to the NBA, he had professional experience in the NBA D-League for four years and the WNBA for two years. He also refereed NCAA Division I basketball in the Ohio Valley, Atlantic Sun and Big South Conferences for two years.
You may remember Fitzgerald from three seasons ago when he gave KG a very quick pair of technicals (from about 30 feet away) and tossed him in the 2nd quarter of the Celtics 104-101 win over the Knicks (in which Amare scored 30). In another outing that season with the Celtics, the loss to the Bobcats in Charlotte, he tossed Stephen Jackson after 2 quick questionable T's. His quickness in giving technicals dates back to his days in the D-league where he was close to the top in calling technical fouls there as well.
Fitzgerald called the Celtics first game of last season against the Heat where the refs let the Heat get away with shoving and grabbing all night long which resulted in the frustration flagrant on Wade at the end. The other game he called last season was the Nets game that resulted in a brawl. The refs gave Doc a T for yelling to Rondo. They let the Nets get away with pushing and shoving and hard fouls the entire first half. The Nets shot 17 free throws to 5 for the Celtics in the first half and 3 of those free throws were on technicals. They did better in the second half after the brawl, but the refs' failure to call the game evenly in the first half led to frustrations and the fight. The Celtics are 4-6 in their last 10 games with Fitzgerald and the Wolves are 5-5 in their last 10 games with Fitzgerald. His home W/L record this season is 6-1
J.T. Orr enters his third NBA season having officiated 112 regular season games. Orr’s experience includes five seasons and 177 games officiated in the NBA D-League. He also has four seasons of NBA preseason experience and worked in NBA summer camps for nine years. In addition to his professional experience, Orr officiated collegiate games for 13 years, working the NCAA tournament in 2011 and including service for the PAC 10/12, West Coast, Big West Conference and multiple small college conferences. He also has 15 years of high school officiating experience.
Orr has called 6 games total for the Celtics, with a record of 1-5 in those games. One game last season was the loss in Denver where the Celtics shot 17 free throws to 31 for the Nuggets. The free throws in the first three quarters were 22-5 in Denver's favor and and only evened up somewhat in the 4th quarter after the game was out of the Celtics' reach. Another game he called was also against the Nuggets where the officiating was again terrible with the Nuggets shooting 36 free throws to 16 for the Celtics. He called the loss to the Grizzlies this season where the Grizzlies shot 22 free throws to 18 for the Celtics and the officiating wasn't bad. The Wolves are 6-4 with Orr over their last 10 games. As with many young refs, he tends to be influenced by the home crowd. His home W/L record this season is 5-0.