After beating two playoff-caliber teams to open up the 2007-2008 regular season, the Celtics are getting prepared to take on one of the NBA’s most dangerous teams – the Denver Nuggets. Led by the superstar duo of Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony, to go along with the NBA’s 2006-2007 Defensive Player of the Year in Marcus Camby, the Nuggets are a team you must bring your "A-Game" against. They can run up the score with the best of them, rebound the ball, and really hurt you in transition. If the Celtics don’t get an advantage in the rebounding column and get back on defense, this is going to be a tough game to win.
The plus side is that Denver played in New York last night, and played just eight players. They could be a bit fatigued, and that’s not something you want your team to be when you go up against Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. This will be a great game to watch, in my opinion. Not only will there be five legitimate franchise superstars on the floor at the same time, but we’ll get to see how the Celtics can do against one of the better Western Conference teams this early in the season. Can they contain Iverson and/or Carmelo? Can they force this potent offensive ball club to shoot under 40%, like they have been doing to other teams? Can they keep up with them in transition? Can Perk stay out of foul trouble while defending Marcus Camby and Nene all night? All these questions will be answered tonight.
The last time Denver came to Boston, Tony Allen got his grub on with some sal-mon and mashed potatoes before the game. Hopefully he does the same tonight.
Projected Starting Lineups
C Marcus Camby / Kendrick Perkins
PF Kenyon Martin / Kevin Garnett
SF Carmelo Anthony / Paul Pierce
SG Yakhouba Diawara / Ray Allen
PG Allen Iverson / Rajon Rondo
Key Matchup: Carmelo Anthony vs. Paul Pierce
These two are each among the top 10 when you’re talking about the most lethal scorers in the NBA. They are very similar players, as well. Carmelo has size/athleticism advantage as well as a an advantage in the post, but Pierce is surely the better shooter and can get into the lane at will – no matter how much bigger his opponent is. These two have had some great matchups in the past, starting with a Carmelo Anthony game-winner that crushed Boston fans hearts one night a couple years ago. There are a lot of intriguing matchups in this game, such as Rondo/Iverson, but I can’t wait to see these two elite offensive players to head-to-head.
Celtics X-Factor: Kendrick Perkins
Every night, Celtics fans hope and pray Kendrick Perkins can stay out of foul trouble. Some nights he succeeds, but for the most part he hasn’t been great with it over the course of his career. Tonight, he is key. Denver’s frontcourt is very deep with solid role players behind Marcus Camby, such as Nene, Kenyon Martin (if he plays), Eduardo Najera, and Steven Hunter. The Celtics, on the other hand, have just Kendrick Perkins, an unhealthy Scot Pollard, and a bunch of undersized PF’s behind Kevin Garnett. Perk better make sure he doesn’t commit any stupid fouls and is able to stay on the floor to help this team win.
Celtics Keys to the Game
- Ball Movement
- Transition Defense
- Own the Boards
- Control the Pace of the Game
- Eat Some Pre-Game Sal-mon & Mashed Potatoes
Wednesday, November 7, 2007 – 7:30 pm ET
TD BankNorth Garden (Boston, MA)
Game aired on CSN