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It's Payback Time

(18-10) orl.gif @ (21-3)

Sunday, December 23
6:30 PM ET
TD BankNorth Garden

Chat  |  Game Thread

Back on November 18, Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic handed the blazing Celtics their first loss of the 2007-2008 season, after winning their first eight. It was an ugly game, and one that many fans believe the men in green should have won. After a miserably disappointing first half, the C’s came alive in the second half to give Orlando a scare and turn it into a real game. It came down to the wire, but unfortunately Paul Pierce took a more than questionable three-point jumper in the face of Keith Bogans, when he had over five seconds to operate. Does that sound familiar? It sure does, because we saw the same situation and result this past Wednesday against Detroit.

Boston has some unfinished business to attend to tonight against Orlando, in attempt to show them that their previous victory was a fluke. This isn’t the same Magic team we saw in early November, however. Orlando has won just two of their last eight games, and head coach Stan Van Gundy publicly sounded off on his team this week, claiming that his players are more worried about getting their numbers than winning basketball games.

With that in mind, anything short of a wildly intense matchup tonight would be a disappointment. The Celtics’ motive is to prove to the Magic that they are the superior team, while Orlando is in search of revival. Things got a little testy out in Orlando last month; it’ll be interesting to see how emotions flair tonight.

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Projected Starters

C Dwight Howard / Kendrick Perkins
PF Rashard Lewis / Kevin Garnett
SF Hedo Turkoglu / Paul Pierce
SG Keith Bogans / Ray Allen
PG Jameer Nelson / Rajon Rondo


Key Matchup: Dwight Howard vs. Kendrick Perkins

Perkins is supposedly our middle man, our toughness, and our enforcer. That’s great and all, but Dwight Howard is the epitome of that description, and them some. He’s an absolute freak of nature with a unique body type that just leaves you in awe. Kendrick Perkins will be the man to try and stop him tonight. That is very doubtful, but if he can at least keep him in check and make sure he doesn’t go for 25/20, the C’s should be alright.


Celtics X-Factor: Kendrick Perkins

Once again, Dwight Howard is a freak of nature. Those 23.4 PPG, 15.1 RPG numbers are no fluke. This man is the real deal. Perk needs to make sure he doesn’t dominate this game and come up with eight or nine easy dunks. He needs to put a body on him, box him out, and make him earn his point from the free throw line. This may be Perk’s most important game of the year 2007.


Injury Report

ORL – Tony Battie (torn left rotator cuff – out for season)


Celtics Keys to the Game

  • Timely Defensive Rotations
  • Heart, Hustle, & Muscle
  • Own the Boards
  • Ball Movement
  • Ball Pressure

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