Celtics hoping to ground the high flying Nuggets

USA TODAY Sports

The Celtics look to win second straight and stay atop the division as they host the Denver Nuggets.

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Denver Nuggets (11-7) at Boston Celtics (8-12)
Friday, December 6, 2013
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #21 Home Game #10
TV: CSNNE, Alt 2, ESPN
Radio: WBZ, 104.3 FM
TD Garden
Referees: Monty McCutcheon, Pat Fraher, Scott Twardoski

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The Nuggets come into Boston for the 4th game of a 6 game trip. They will also come into this game angry from a 10 point loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in their last game.

The 11-7 Nuggets are 6th in the tough Western Conference and are 7-3 in their last 10 games. their last 10. The 8-12 are 4th in the not so tough Eastern Conference and are 6-4 in their last 10 games. The Nuggets are 5-5 away from the Pepsi Center while the Celtics are 4-5 at home.

The Celtics will need to up their transition defense in this game because the Nuggets will look to run at every opportunity. Hopefully the Celtics will benefit from two practices already this month after having just 6 practice days in all of November.

Probable Starting Matchups

Point Guard

vs

Jordan Crawford vs Ty Lawson

Shooting Guard

vs

Avery Bradley vs Randy Foye

Small Forward

vs

Jeff Green vs Wilson Chandler


Power Forward

vs

Brandon Bass vs Kenneth Faried

Center

vs

Jared Sullinger vs JJ Hickson z

Celtics Reserves

MarShon Brooks

Kris Humphries

Vitor Faverani

Phil Pressey

Gerald Wallace

Keith Bogans

Courtney Lee

Injuries

Rajon Rondo (ACL)out

Kelly Olynyk (ankle) day to day

Nuggets Reserves

Timofey Mosgov

Darrell Arthur

Nate Robinson

Andre Miller

Jordan Hamilton

Evan Fournier

Quincy Miller

Anthony Randolph


Injuries

Danilo Gallinari (knee) out

JaVale McGee (leg) out

Key Matchups

vs

Brandon Bass vs Kenneth Faried

Faried is quick and athletic and very much fun to watch. Brandon Bass will have his hands full trying to stay with him. Faried is averaging 10.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game and has a motor that just doesn't quit.

vs

Jared Sullinger vs JJ Hickson

For once, Sully won't be at a big height disadvantage against the 6'9" Hickson, who is averaging 10.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game.


Keys to the Game

Defense - Defense is the key to winning every game. Against the Nuggets, transition defense is especially important because the Nuggets will run them out of the building if they don't find a way to get stops.

Take Care of the Ball - At times the Celtics get very careless with the ball and turn the ball over way too much. When they do, they usually lose the game. They have to take care of the ball and limit their turnovers because a team like Denver will rack up the points off turnovers very quickly.


Go to the Hoop
- The Celtics need to get the ball inside and not settle for outside shots, especially if they aren't falling. When they get into the paint, good things happen.

Run! - We know that the Nuggets will run and the Celtics also need to run to keep pace with them. The Celtics are much better when they push the ball and run and get their shots before the defense can set up.

X-Factors

Home and Rest vs Road Fatigue

The Celtics are home and have had 2 days off, including a day to practice. The Nuggets are in the middle of a 6 game road trip and have to be getting a bit of road fatigue. Will the Celtics be able to take advantage of it?

Official Report
Monty McCutcheon

Monty McCutchen has officiated 1,181 regular season, 97 playoff,

and nine Finals games. He worked the 2007 NBA All-Star Game in Las Vegas and was a member of the crews that officiated the 1996 and 1997 Mexico Challenges, as well as the 1998 Schick Rookie Game. Prior to joining the NBA, McCutchen spent four seasons in the CBA, where he worked the All Star game his second year and the playoffs all four years. He also officiated the CBA Finals the last three years he was with the league. McCutchen missed the 1998-99 season with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

He is a former elementary and middle school teacher and is fondly remembered by his students as a really nice guy. In searching for information on him, I found a Cavs' blog that blamed a loss to the Celtics on the officiating of Monty McCutchen. That was the game where Mike Brown was ejected and the Cavs made a furious comeback but fell short. In game 2 of the WCF, McCutchen flipped out on someone and yelled "I'm running this game not you!" as Serge Ibaka went to the line for free throws. Other than that, there's not a lot of controversy about him.

The Celtics are 4-6 in their last 10 games with McCutchen on the court. He officiated the Heat game to open last season. Needless to say, he allowed Wade and Battier to grab and shove off and foul all game, which led to Rondo's flagrant on Wade out of frustration. He also called a win over the Wizards last season where the Celtics took 34 free throws to 7 by the Wizards and the Celtics got the benefit of some questionable calls. He called a 103-88 loss to the Pistons where the Celtics took 25 free throws to 31 for the Pistons, but the officiating was good. He also called a win over the Lakers at home and a loss at Portland where they let them play and the officiating was good. He also called Boston at OKC where the Thunder shot 33 free throws to 20 for the Celtics and a win over the Hawks where the Celtics shot 21 free throws to 24 for the Hawks and the officiating was good.

McCutchen was the lead ref in one of the worst officiated games I've watched in a long time. In the LA Lakers vs Golden State Warriors, the Lakers shot 50 free throws to 16 for the Warriors in a 2 point LA win. It was a key game for the Lakers playoff hopes and the referees literally gave them the game. One play in particular stands out to me. In the final minutes with the game tied, Steph Curry was called for an offensive foul on Dwight Howard, when it was clearly a foul on Howard. The worst part is that they put Steve Blake, a very good free throw shooter, on the line instead of Dwight, even though Blake wasn't involved in the play. It truly was a travesty. It just proves that when they have an agenda, they will go to extreme lengths to accomplish it. So, I guess the bottom line is that McCutchen can be very good, but he also can be very bad. The Nuggets are 7-3 in their last 10 games with McCutchen. He is a homer ref with a home W/L record this season is 14-1.


Pat Fraher

Pat Fraher has officiated 730 regular season NBA games and 11 Playoff games entering this season. Prior to joining the NBA, Fraher officiated for seven years in the CBA, where he worked the CBA Finals and All-Star game. In addition, Fraher spent four years with the WNBA, where he officiated playoff games in both the WNBA Eastern and Western Conference Finals. Fraher also has two years of collegiate officiating experience with the NSIC and 10 years of experience as a high school official in his home state of Minnesota. He attended the University of Minnesota where he was awarded the Evans Scholarship and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering. While at Hastings High School, Fraher was a member of the football, basketball and golf teams.

The Celtics are 0-1 this season and 6-4 over their last 10 games with Fraher. The loss this season was in the preseason to the Nets and the officiating was ok. He officiated a win over the Bucks last season where the Celtics took 34 free throws to 26 for the Bucks and the officiating was good. He also called the win over the Blazers where they took 37 free throws to 20 for the Celtics and the officiating was slightly one sided in their favor but not especially bad. He also called a win over the Raptors where the Celtics shot 30 free throws to 26 for the Raptors. The last game he called last season was a loss to the Nuggets where the Celtics shot 16 free throws to 36 for the Nuggets and the officiating was terrible all the way around. The Nuggets are 4-6 over their last 10 games officiated by Fraher. His home W/L record this season is 9-5.


Scott Twardoski

Scott Twardowski enters his third year as an NBA Referee having officiated 109 regular season games. Twardowski’s experience includes six seasons and 206 games officiated in the D-League. He also has four seasons of NBA preseason game experience and worked in NBA summer camps for eight years. He also has seven seasons of WNBA experience, working both the All-Star game and Finals. In addition to his professional experience, Twardoski officiated collegiate games for 12 years in the Pac 10, Big 12, Big Sky and West Coast Conferences and has 10 years of high school officiating experience. Twardoski worked as a teacher for five years in the 16th School District, Covington, AZ.

He has called only 6 games for Boston over his career in which they are 4-2. He called a win in Cleveland, a win vs Orlando in which Orlando took 30 free throws to 19 for the Celtics, and a loss at Sacramento in which the officiating was uneven, in his first season. Last season, his only games with the Celtics were a win in Charlotte in which the officiating wasn't bad and a win over the Wizards in which the Celtics took 21 free throws to 12 for the Wizards and the calls favored the Celtics. He also called a loss to the Raptors in which Toronto took 28 free throws to 13 for the Celtics and quite a few questionable calls favored the Raptors. The Nuggets are 1-0 this season and 6-3 over Twardoski's career. His home W/L record for this season is 7-6.



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