Celtics hit the road to visit the scrappy Bobkitties

Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE

The Celtics are on visiting the Bobcats the night after playing a triple OT game which could make a game that should be easy much tougher.

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Boston Celtics (27-23) at Charlotte Bobcats (11-39)

Monday, February 11

7:00 PM ET

Regular Season Game #51, Road Game #23

TV: CSNNE, SSO-CHA, NBA-LP 752(BOS)/753(CHA)

Radio: WEEI, WFNZ

Time Warner Cable Arena

Referees: Rodney Mott, Marat Kogut, Scott Wall

The Celtics are on visiting the Bobcats the night after playing a triple OT game which could make a game that should be easy much tougher. The Bobcats may have a losing record, but this team always plays hard.

This is the second of 4 games between these two teams. The Celtics won the first meeting 100-89 in Boston and they will meet twice more in March. The Celtics are 7-3 in their last 10 games while the Bobcats are just 1-9 in their last 10. The Celtics are 8-14 on the road while the Bobcats have been even worse at home at 6-19. The Celtics have won 7 in a row while the Bobcats have lost 7 in a row.

The Celtics are 7th in the East, now 1.5 games ahead of the Bucks, who are in the 8th spot. They are just half a game behind the Hawks for the 6th spot and 1.5 games behind Brooklyn for the 5th spot. The Bobcats have the worst record in the league and now are playing for ping pong balls, but in spite of that, they always play hard and so the Celtics can't take them for granted.

The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games after a tough triple OT win over the Nuggets. Pierce played 54 minutes. KG played 47 minutes. Bradley played 45 minutes. Terry played 42 minutes. Green played 41 minutes. Add the fact that they had to travel after the game and fatigue could very well be a problem in this game. But still, if the reserves can give the Celtics more in this game, they should be able to get the win.

Probable Starters

PGSGSFPFC

Avery Bradley.....Courtney Lee ..... Paul Pierce.....Brandon Bass.......Kevin Garnett

Celtics Reserves

Jason Collins

Jeff Green

Leandro Barbosa

Jason Terry

Chris Wilcox

Fab Melo

Injuries

Rajon Rondo (knee) out

Jared Sullinger (back) out

Probable Starters

PG......SG.....SF.....PF ..... C

Kemba Walker ......Gerald Henderson....Michael Kidd-Gilchrist........Byron Mullens .......Bismack Biyombo


Bobcats Bench

Brendan Haywood

Ramon Sessions

Jeff Adrien

DeSagana Diop

Ben Gordon

Jeffrey Taylor

Tyrus Thomas

Hakim Warrick

Reggie Williams

Injuries

None

Key Matchups

vs

Kevin Garnett vs Bismack Biyombo

KG has been playing very well and also has a couple of inches on Biyombo who is averaging 4.4 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. Biyombo is a good defender and bothers a lot of shots inside, but with KG's size, he should be able to get his shot off over Biyombo without having to bang inside with him.

vs

Avery Bradley vs Kemba Walker

Walker is playing very well for the Bobcats, averaging 17 points , 3.4 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game. Bradley should be able to match his speed and stay ahead of him to slow down both Kemba and the Bobcats' offense.

Honorable Mention

Paul Pierce vs Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Kidd-Gilchrist is a promising young rookie who is averaging 9.3 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Since the Celtics are playing in back to back games, I expect to see Green get more minutes on Gilchrist in this game and between the two, they should be able to slow him down.

Keys to the Game

Focus and Energy - When the Celtics face teams with losing records, they often come out flat and lack focus and energy and they lose to teams they should easily beat. The Celtics have got to stay focused and play with energy the entire game because the Bobcats always play hard, even though they don't have the most talent in the league, and will take advantage of any lapse from the Celtics.

Defense - The Celtics need to make defense their priority. Games are won on the defensive end. The effort that the Celtics put out on the defensive end carries over to the offensive end as well. The Celtics have been playing some very good defense led by their Pit Bull backcourt and they need to continue to do so.

Rebound - Good things happen when the Celtics crash the boards. When they show energy in rebounding, that energy spreads to other areas of the game. They prevent second chance points and fast break baskets by grabbing the rebounds. Rebounding is effort and the Celtics must put out the effort to win the battle of the boards.

Be Aggressive - When the Celtics are the more aggressive team they usually win. They need to be aggressive in going to the basket, in grabbing rebounds, and in hustling after loose balls. Unfortunately they often come out passively against the worst teams and so they have to make an effort to be aggressive in this one.

Don't Settle for Jumpers- The Celtics won't have a lot of legs left after playing big minutes in the double OT game the night before. They need to get into the paint and not settle for outside jumpers, especially if their legs aren't there and they aren't going down.

X-Factor

Fatigue and Mentality

The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games and are on the road after a triple overtime game the night before. This should be an easy game for them, but fatigue could influence the outcome. And that brings us to their mentality. They tend to play down to the teams with the worst records. They need to come out playing like they are playing the Heat and if they do, they should get an easy win.

Official Report

Rodney Mott

Rodney Mott has officiated 923 regular season games and 14 playoff games during his 15-season NBA career. Prior to joining the NBA officiating staff, Mott spent four years officiating in the CBA, eight years officiating in the Los Angeles Pro Am basketball league, three years officiating at the junior college level, and four years officiating high school in San Diego. In 2007, Mott was suspended without pay for 3 games for making an obscene gesture and inappropriate comment toward a fan. Mott challenged the charges and said that they used him as a scapegoat to take attention away from other issues, but the suspension stood.

The Celtics are 1-2 this season and 4-6 over their last 10 games with Mott. One loss this season was to the Sixers and the officiating was good. The second loss was to the Spurs and the officiating was one sided with the Celtics shooting just 8 free throws to 20 for the Spurs. It was Rodney Mott that Rondo was joking with and accidentally bumped in the last game vs the Hawks. Even though Mott didn't show any reaction at the time and backed up Rondo's story that he was indeed joking with him at the time, Rondo was suspended for the incident. The Bobcats are 1-2 this season and 3-7 with Mott in their last 10. His home W/L record this season is 25-16.


Scott Wall

The son of former USA Basketball Director Bill Wall, Scott Wall has officiated 950 regular season games and seven playoff games over his 17 NBA seasons. In addition to his NBA experience, Wall has four years of officiating experience for USA Basketball, four years of collegiate officiating experience in the Atlantic Coast, Ohio Valley, and Trans America Athletic Conferences, and five years of high school officiating experience in Kansas and Alabama.

The Celtics are 1-1 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games with Wall. The loss was the first Nets game where they were allowed to be physical and the Celtics were not. They called a foul on a clearly clean steal that could have changed the outcome of the game. Wall was the ref that called the clothesline on Barbosa by Bogans a regular foul. He also called the last Hawks game with Rodney Mott. The Bobcats are 1-2 this season and 3-7 in their last 10 games with Wall on the court. His home W/L record this season is 17-18.

Marat Kogut

Marat Kogut enters his fourth year as an NBA Referee having officiated 163 games. Kogut immigrated to the United States with his family seven days after he was born. Raised in Brooklyn, NY, he started officiating at the age of 16 at local recreational youth leagues. His professional experience includes three years in the WNBA, as well as 4 years in the NBA Development League, where he officiated over 180 games, including the Finals in his last two seasons and the 2009 D-League All-Star Game in Phoenix. Prior to joining the NBA officiating staff, Kogut worked in several Men's NCAA mid-major Division I conferences, including the Ohio Valley Conference, Atlantic Sun, and Big South Conference, as well as in New York metro area High School basketball for four years. Kogut was the Head Men's Basketball Manager for the St. John's Redstorm.

The Celtics 1-1 this season and 5-5 in the last 10 games with Kogut calling the them. In one loss last season to the Lakers that Kogut called, the officiating was terrible and LA shot 20 free throws to 5 (yes, FIVE) for the Celtics. In a game vs the Pacers this season, the refs let them play in the first half and then in the second half they started calling a lot of ticky tack fouls on the Celtics. KG was called for a flagrant 2, which has since been downgraded. The Pacers shot 18 free throws in the second half to 9 for the Celtics. The Bobcats are 0-3 this season and 2-8 in their last 10 games with Kogut as a ref. His home W/L record this season is 17-13.

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