Lottery bound Celtics host Big Al and the playoff bound  Bobcats

Streeter Lecka

The Celtics host the Charlotte Bobcats for the 3rd and final meeting this season.

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Charlotte Bobcats (40-38) at Boston Celtics (23-55)
Friday, April 11, 2014
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #79 Home Game #40
TV: CSN-NE, SSO-CHA, NBA-LP 755(DTV)/754(XFinity)
Radio: WFNZ, WBZ
TD Garden
Referees: David Jones, David Guthrie, Eli Roe


Game Thread l Chat


The Celtics host the Charlotte Bobcats for the 3rd and final meeting this season. The series is tied 1-1 coming into this game with each team winning on the road. Al Jefferson, who will be playing in his 3rd playoff run, returns to the place where he began his 10 year career.

Charlotte has clinched a playoff spot and is tied with the Wizards for the 6th seed. They would love to stay in that 6th spot and avoid a first round matchup with either Indiana or Miami. The Celtics are in a tie with Orlando for the 3rd worst record. I'm sure that Danny Ainge would love to lose all their remaining games, but the players are still trying hard and want to win.

The Bobcats come into this game on a 5 game win streak while the Celtics have lost their last 9 games and are hoping to avoid their longest losing streak since the 2007 season when they lost 18 in a row. The Celtics are 1-9 in their last 10 games and 15-24 at home while the Bobcats are 7-3 in their last 10 games and 17-22 on the road.




Probable Starters
PGSGSFPFC
Rajon Rondo.....Avery Bradley....Jeff Green....Brandon Bass....Jared Sullinger

Celtics Reserves

Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Chris Babb
Jerryd Bayless
Phil Pressey
Kelly Olynyk

Injuries

Keith Bogans (personal) out
Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Gerald Wallace (knee) out
Kris Humphries (knee) day to day



Probable Starters
PGSGSFPFC
Kemba Walker....Gerald Henderson....Michael Kidd-Gilchrist....Josh McRoberts....Al Jefferson

Bobcats Reserves
Bismack Biyombo
Cody Zeller
Anthony Tolliver
Jannero Pargo
Gary Neal
Chris Douglas-Roberts
Luke Ridnour
DJ White

Injuries

Brendon Haywood (foot) out
Jeff Taylor (Achilles) out


Key Matchups
vs
Rajon Rondo vs Kemba Walker
This is the 5th meeting between Walker and Rondo with Rondo winning all 4 of their previous matchups. Walker is playing very well, averaging 17.8 points, 6.1 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals. Rondo has said that he needs to lead by example and so Keba may be in for a long night.

vs
Jared Sullinger vs Al Jefferson
Paul Pierce recently said that no one can stop Al Jefferson but Jared Sullinger is going to try his best in this game. Big Al is living up to his nickname this season, averaging 21.7 points, 10.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.1 blocks per game.

Keys to the Game
Set the Pace- When the Celtics run, good things happen. After the Celtics loss to the Hawks, Tommy criticized Rondo for slowing things down in the 4th quarter and blamed him for the Celtics losing their lead in that game. Rondo has to keep the offense moving and keep the Celtics running.

Take Care of the Ball - At times the Celtics seem to lose their focus and turn the ball over way too much. They get sloppy and give their opponents extra possessions by turning the ball over. They have to stay focused and limit their turnovers.

Rebound - The Celtics must crash the boards on both ends. They have to rebound as a team and not just depend on the bigs to grab the rebounds. Rebounding takes effort and the Celtics need to be the team that puts out more effort.

Defense
- The Celtics' defense has been like Swiss cheese at times recently. They allow way too many easy points and let teams score at will for the most part. The Hawks shot 78% in the first quarter and that just can't happen. They have to play better defense as a team if they want to get a win.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have to be aggressive in going after loose balls, in getting into the paint, grabbing rebounds, and defending. They have to be the team that wants it more.

X-Factors
Pride and Motivation
In spite of all the tanking talk, the Celtics players still have pride and want to win. The Bobcats on the other hand are playing to stay in that 6th seed and avoid a first round meeting with the Heat or Pacers. That's a pretty strong motivation. The Celtics will have to play very hard to get this win.



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