Boston Celtics (38-35) at Minnesota Timberwolves (26-46)
Monday, April 1, 2013
8:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #74, Road Game #38
TV: CSN-NE, WFTC, NBA-LP 758(BOS)/759 (MIN)
Radio: WEEI, WCCO-AM
Referees: David Jones, Courtney Kirkland, Olandis Poole
Game Thread l Chat
Boston Celtics Tickets
The Celtics visit the Timberwolves for the 2nd and final meeting this season. They won the first game 104-94 in Boston back in December, before Kevin Love was injured. Even though the Wolves have won just 26 games, they are capable of beating you on any given night as they beat the Thunder just last week.
The Celtics are coming off a terrible effort against the Knicks. They settled for way too many outside shots that just weren't falling, shooting just 7 of 25 from beyond the arc. At the same time, they allowed the Knicks to shoot 49% from the field and 52% on 3 pointers.
The Celtics must some way find their focus on the road. They continue to lose games they should win on the road and playing very poorly in the process. They won't have home court in any of their series in the playoffs and if they can't find a way to win on the road, their playoff run may be very short.
Paul Pierce had ice on his ankle after twisting it in the first quarter of the loss to the Knicks and although he said he was fine, he played 32 minutes and Doc may choose to sit him in this game. Although I have him in the starting lineup, as per the game notes, I kind of expect that Lee will start at SG and Pierce will sit this one out. The Celtics simply must get more out of every player if they expect to make it out of the first round.
PG SGSF PF C
Rajon Rondo (knee) out
Jared Sullinger (back) out
Kevin Garnett (foot/ankle) day to day
Paul Pierce (ankle) questionable
PG SG SF PF C
Brandon Roy (knee) out
Kevin Love (hand) out
Nikola Pekovik (ankle) questionable
Malcolm Lee (knee) out
Avery Bradley vs Ricky Rubio
Rubio is back from his ACL tear and is playing well. He's a very good PG who can shoot the ball as well as find the open man. He's also very fast and Avery will need to slow him down to keep the Wolves from getting into their offense and slow them down.
Jeff Green vs Andrei Kirilenko
Kirilenko got off to a slow start due to injuries but he has been playing very well lately. I remember a few years ago, Paul Pierce frustrated him to tears in a game. Hopefully Green can frustrate him in this game.
Chris Wilcox vs Greg Stiemsma
Chris will face his former teammate at the center spot. Stiemsma has not played as well this year as he did last season, but he's still capable of grabbing rebounds and blocking shots if you don't box him out.
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. They have to make defense their priority, especially as the playoffs approach. Allowing a team to shoot 52% from beyond the arc isn't going to get it done.
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 questionable, but if he plays, this becomes even more important because he is a beast around the basket.
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.
Bench Play - The Wolves have a couple of players off the bench that are tough for teams to match up with in Alexy Shved and JJ Barea. The Celtics bench players must be ready to defend these deceptively quick players. Especially in back to back games, the Celtics need to get production from their bench players and they have to be more consistent.
Road Game and Back to Back
Once again the Celtics are on the road and they have struggled on the road, even against the bottom teams in the league. Or, maybe it is especially against the bottom teams in the league. They have to keep their focus and find a way to win on the road because they will have to win on the road in the playoffs. Also, the Celtics are playing in back to back games against a young team with fresh legs. The Celtics are 2-4 in the second game of road/road back to back games.
Jones has officiated 1,387 regular season games and 45 playoff games throughout his 23 seasons as an NBA official. In addition, Jones officiated both the men’s and women’s 2000 Olympic Bronze Medal Games. Jones has eight years of collegiate officiating experience in the Southeastern, Trans-American Athletic, Metro and Sunshine State Conferences.
He was one of the refs who helped to train Tim Donaghy and was very outspoken in condemning Donaghy's actions and felt that Donaghy's actions took the "ethics and integrity of the profession and threw them out the window." I guess he hasn't looked very hard at the current crop of refs that also lacks ethics and integrity. The Celtics are 0-4 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 games with Jones while the Wolves are 2-3 this season and 3-7 in their last 10 with Jones. Although the opponents took more free throws than the Celtics in all 4 games, none were terribly officiated. Jones' home W/L record this season is 39-17.
Over the past 12 seasons, Courtney Kirkland has officiated 725 regular season games and 11 playoff games. He also officiated two seasons in the WNBA, including the 2000 WNBA Championship and the 1999 Conference Finals. Kirkland also officiated the 2010 and 2011 Venezuelan LPB basketball championships. Prior to joining the NBA, Kirkland also worked three seasons in the CBA where he officiated the 1999 and 2000 CBA Finals as well as the 2000 CBA All-Star Game. He was a high school official for four years as a member of the Baton Rouge (La.) Basketball Officials Association and was named Rookie Official of the Year in 1994. Kirkland earned a degree in Computer Science from Southern University. He was a member of the Northwestern High School basketball team that made it to the state semifinals in 1991 and 1992. Kirkland received the school’s Academic award, and led the team in assists, free throw and three-point shooting percentage.
Kirkland earned some measure of notoriety when he jumped in to block a Kris Humphries free throw in a recent Nets game. The Celtics are 3-1 this season and 9-1 in their last 10 games that Kirkland officiated. He officiated 2 Celtics games last season and both were called evenly as were the first two he called this season. The 3rd game was against the Pacers in which the Celtics shot 18 free throws to 28 for the Pacers. They called a flagrant 2 on KG which was later downgraded and the officiating was terrible. The loss was to the Cavs and the officiating was again good. The Wolves are 1-4 this season and 3-7 in their last 10 games with Kirkland. His home W/L record this season is 36-22.
Poole joined the NBA officiating staff nine years ago and has officiated 467 games. After three seasons in the NBA Development League, where he worked the postseason each year, Poole spent 12 years in the college ranks in the Southeastern Conference, Big East, Atlantic 10, Conference USA, Big 12, Southern Conference, Ohio Valley Conference, and Atlantic Sun Conference. He officiated the NCAA Tournament from 1996 through 2004, including the 2004 NCAA Final Four. While attending Newport News Apprentice School, he received Basketball MVP honors three out of four years.
The Celtics are 3-1 this season and 7-3 over their last 10 games with Poole as a ref. He called wins over Toronto, Denver, and Houston and the loss to the Kings this season. The officiating in all of those was fairly even. The Wolves are 2-2 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 with Poole. His home W/L record this season is 25-23.