Celtics visit Sixers looking for 3rd straight win

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

As the Celtics visit the Sixers, they have shown that they're not happy just coasting to the finish.

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Boston Celtics (25-55) at Philadelphia 76ers (17-63)
Regular Season Game #81, Road Game #41
Monday, April 14, 2014
7:00 PM ET
TV: CSNNE, CSN-PHI, NBA-LP 751(DTV)/751 (Xfinity)
Radio: WBZ, WPEN
Wells Fargo Center
Referees: Mike Callahan, Ben Taylor, Scott Wall

As the Celtics visit the Sixers, they have shown that they're not happy just coasting to the finish. They have won their last two games and will be looking to avenge last week's loss to these same Sixers. Philly leads the series 2 games to 1.

The Celtics were without Kris Humphries, Jerryd Bayless, Jared Sullinger and Rajon Rondo when they beat the Cavaliers on Saturday. Humphries, Bayless, and Sullinger have been ruled out for this game. Rondo is listed as a game time decision. It will be interesting to see if Rondo picks up the tempo as Tommy has urged him to do and as Phil has done, or if he continues to slow things down.

Philly has the 2nd worst record in the league and will more than likely stay there 2 games behind Milwaukee and 6 games ahead of Orlando. With their two recent wins, the Celtics are tied with the Lakers, who have lost 7 in a row, for the 5th spot for the lottery. They are 1 game behind the Jazz, who have moved up to 4th. With the Lakers playing the Jazz tonight, one of them has to win and that may shake things up a bit.



Probable Starters

PG: Phil Pressey.................................. SG: Avery Bradley


C: Kelly Olynyk


SF: Jeff Green ....................................... PF: Brandon Bass


Celtics Reserves
Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Chris Babb

Injuries

Avery Bradley (Achilles) day to day
Keith Bogans (personal) out
Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Gerald Wallace (knee) out
Jared Sullinger (ankle) out
Kris Humphries (knee) out
Rajon Rondo (shin) game time decision
Jerryd Bayless (knee) out
http://www.sportsecyclopedia.com/nba/phil76/00-76erslogos.gif
Probable Starters

PG: James Anderson .................................... SG: Michael Carter-Williams


C: Henry Sims


SF: Thaddeus Young ...................................... PF: Hollis Thompson

Sixers Reserves
Tony Wroten
Elliot Williams
Jarvis Varnado
James Nunnally
Brendon Davies
Casper Ware
Byron Mullins
Arnett Moultrie

Injuries

Jason Richardson (knee) out
Nerlens Noel (knee) out

Key Matchups
vs
Avery Bradley vs Michael Carter-Williams
Carter-Williams is in the running for rookie of the year. He has been one of the bright spots for the Sixers this season, averaging 16.7 points, 6.1 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.9 steals per game.

vs
Jeff Green vs Thaddeus Young
Young is averaging 17.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 2.1 steals per game. Green will need to keep Young from having a big game while also trying to contribute for the Celtics on the offensive end.

Keys to the Game
Defense - As always, defense is key to winning. The Celtics must keep the Sixers from getting easy points in the paint while also guarding the perimeter.

Take Care of the Ball - The Celtics tend to turn the ball over way too much. They need to keep their focus and make smart passes and avoid the costly turnovers that almost always lead to a score for the other team.

Rebound - Rebounding is mostly effort and desire and when the Celtics put the effort on the glass it usually shows up in other areas also. They have to rebound on both ends to keep the Sixers from getting second chance points and to give themselves more chances to score.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics need to stay aggressive. They have to be more aggressive going to the hoop and not settling for outside shots, especially if they aren't falling. They have to be aggressive on defense, in going after loose balls, and in going after rebounds. They have to be the team that wants it more.

Run - The Celtics have to run on every possession. Too often they walk the ball up the court. When they run, they get easy shots before the defenses set up. Phil Pressey has been doing a good job of getting the ball up quickly and keeping it moving. If Rondo comes back, he needs to do the same. They have to set the pace right from the beginning and keep it up through the final buzzer.

X-Factors
Pride and Injuries
Both teams have nothing to play for except pride. The Celtics organization can accomplish more with a loss but the players and coach want a win. If they could win with just 8 players, I have no doubts that they can come up with a win in this one. The Sixers can't move up in the lottery standings with a loss and so they are playing for pride as well. Will the Celtics have enough left with all the injuries to get the win?
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