Celtics visit Pelicans as they look for first road win in the West

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Celtics visit Pelicans as both teams hope to end losing streaks.

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Boston Celtics (22-44) at New Orleans Pelicans (26-39)
Sunday, March 16, 2014
6:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #67 – Road Game #32
TV: CSN-NE, FSNOLA, NBA-LP 753(DTV)/751(Xfinity)
Radio: WBZ, WWL
Smoothie King Center
Referees: John Goble, Mark Ayotte, Haywoode Workman

Game Thread l Chat

CLNS Radio Post Game Show
Call into the Studio: 347-215-7771


The Celtics begin a 3 game road trip with a stop in New Orleans to take on the Pelicans. The last time these two teams met in Boston, the Pelicans came away with a 95-92 win. The Celtics will be looking to get their first road win against a Western team this season, having lost 18 in a row on the road dating back to last season. The Pelicans have lost their last 2 games while the Celtics have lost 3 in a row.

Both of these teams are 3-7 in their last 10 games. The Celtics are 8-23 on the road while the Pelicans are 15-16 at home. The Pelicans have something in common with the Celtics in that they have struggled to close out games recently. The Pelicans were outscored 9-0 in the final 3:22 of Wednesday's 90-88 loss to Memphis and they blew a three-point lead with under five minutes remaining in a loss to Portland on Friday. The Celtics let the Suns score the last 7 points in Friday's home loss.

The Celtics finally got Avery Bradley back from the ankle injury on Friday and hopefully he worked off some of the rust in that game vs the Suns. The Celtics game notes have the same starting lineup with Bayless at the 2 guard but Brad Stevens may choose to switch things around and move Avery back into the starting lineup.

With their 3 straight losses, the Celtics have dropped back into the 4th spot in the lottery with a 9% chance of winning the lottery. They are tied record wise with the Lakers and the Jazz. The Lakers won the series with the Celtics this season 2-0 but the Celtics and Jazz each won one game in their series. The Celtics are 3.5 games behind Orlando for the 3rd spot and aren't likely to move up but a win streak could definitely move them down. The Pelicans are also likely out of the playoffs, 12 games out of the playoffs in the west.

The Celtics are playing in the first of back to back games on the road. They are 1-6 in the first game of road/road back to backs and they are 2-5 in the second of back to back games on the road. Both teams will be unhappy with the way their last game ended and will be looking to get back on track in this one.




Probable Starters
Point Guard

Rajon Rondo

Shooting Guard


Jerryd Bayless

Small Forward

Jeff Green

Power Forward


Brandon Bass

Center

Kris Humphries

Celtics Reserves
Avery Bradley
Kelly Olynyk
Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Jared Sullinger
Phil Pressey
Chris Babb

Injuries
Keith Bogans (personal) out
Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Gerald Wallace (knee,ankle) out




Probable Starters
Point Guard


Brian Roberts

Shooting Guard

Eric Gordon

Small Forward

Tyreke Evans

Power Forward

Anthony Davis

Center


Alexis Ajinca

Pelicans Reserves

Greg Stiemsma
Anthony Morrow
Austin Rivers
Darius Miller
Jeff Withey
Al Farouq Amino
Luke Babbitt

Injuries
Jason Smith (knee) out
Ryan Anderson (neck) out
Jrue Holiday (leg) out

Key Matchups
vs
Jerryd Bayless vs Eric Gordon
Gordon is averaging 15.6 points, 3.2 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game this season. He can put up points quickly if he gets open. If Avery can handle it, we may see him on Gordon.

vs
Brandon Bass vs Anthony Davis
Davis is a handful for anyone and will definitely be a tough matchup for Bass. He is averaging 21.0 points, 10.2 rebounds, 1.5 steals and an impressive 2.9 blocks per game.In the first game this season vs the Celtics, Davis had 23 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks.

Keys to the Game
Play 48 Minutes
- The Celtics have got to play all 48 minutes of this game to win. Unfortunately, they only played 45 minutes against the Suns. They play so well at times and then seem to forget how to play at other times. They have to figure out how to stop the lapses and play as a team for the whole game and especially how to close out games.

Rebound - The Celtics have to continue to crash the boards as a team. Rebounding takes effort and the Celtics have to show that effort on the boards. They have been doing a decent job of rebounding and they have to continue to crash the boards, especially against Davis and the 7'2" Ajinca.

Defense - The Celtics seem to go through offensive droughts at times during games and it is essential that they continue to play tough defense to keep the Pelicans from scoring at will during those droughts.

Run and Go to the Hoop - The Celtics need to run on every possession. They also need to get inside and not settle for outside shots especially when they aren't falling. When the Celtics build leads, they are running and going to the hoop. When they lose leads they stop running and settle for outside shots.

X-Factors
Pride and On the Road
The Celtics lost their last game in a very humbling manner. Can they summon the pride to make up for that and play a strong game for 48 minutes?
Can the Celtics finally get their first win on the road against a Western Conference team?

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