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Celtics Look to Extend Road Streak Against Wizards


 Boston Celtics (30-4) at Wizards (18-16)

Saturday, January 12
7:30 PM ET
Game #35, Road Game # 18
TV:  NBA LP ch 751, CSN HD, CSN
Verizon Center
Chat    l  Game Thread   

Wizards Coverage      Bullets Forever    

The Celtics' last meeting with the Wizards was their home opener  when Gilbert Arenas guaranteed a win for the Wizards and instead the Celtics handed them a 103-83 loss.    Arenas has missed much of the season so far with a knee injury, but the Wizards have been playing well in his absence.  They are 5-5 in their last 10 and have played well at home winning 10 out of 18. 

Jamison and Butler are the league's highest scoring forward tandem, averaging 44 points between them per game.  They have raised their games to pick up the slack from losing Arenas.   They will be a tough matchup for Pierce and KG. 

The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games.  They have had 8  sets of back to back games and have not lost in a back to back situation yet this season.    The Wizards will also be playing in the second of back to back games as they won a tough overtime game in Atlanta on Friday night.  Four of the Wizards' starters played over 40 minutes including over 48 minutes from both Daniels and Jamison.  The Celtics starters were all kept under 40 minutes with Pierce playing the most at 39:30. 
Rondo was unable to return to the game after hitting the post in the third quarter against the Nets.  The word is that he had a sore back.  If he is unable to go against the Wizards, they would need a big game from Tony. 
Fatigue could come into play in this game and the play of the benches for both teams could become the X-Factor.  

Probable Starting Matchups
PG:    Rajon Rondo (or Tony Allen) vs Antonio Daniels
SG:    Ray Allen vs DeShawn Stevenson
SF:    Paul Pierce vs Caron Butler
PF:    Kevin Garnett vs  Antawn Jamison
C:      Kendrick Perkins vs  Brendon Haywood 
Key Matchups
Paul Pierce vs Caron Butler
Pierce    PPG 21.2 RPG 5.70 APG 4.9 EFF + 21.00
Butler    PPG 21.9 RPG 6.80 APG 4.6 EFF + 24.22

Kevin Garnett vs Antawn Jamison
Garnett        PPG 19.2 RPG 10.00 APG 3.6 EFF + 26.73
Jamison        PPG 21.6 RPG 10.60 APG 1.5 EFF + 22.27
Butler and Jamison are the highest scoring forward tandem in the NBA right now.  KG and Pierce will have their hands full with them. 

Keys to the Game
1.  Play team defense.   The Celtics have allowed way too many easy baskets in their last two games.  They came back in the 4th with good defense against the Nets but allowed the Bobcats easy baskets the entire game.  They have to get back to playing good team defense for the entire game. 

2.   Control the Boards.   For the second game in a row, the Celtics were out-rebounded.  They need to put out the effort to grab the rebounds.  They need to stop allowing second and third chance baskets.   

3.   Play 48 minutes.   The Celtics need to come out with energy and give a solid effort for 48 minutes.  Their recent habit of getting into a hole and then tightening the defense to pull it out in the end is a dangerous habit that they need to get out of.

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