Last night, the Celtics extended their winning streak to seven with a 102-78 victory over Philadelphia. Tonight, the cruising men in green will be hosted by the Bobcats in Charlotte for their sixth back-to-back of this young 2008-2009 regular season.
While the C's sit atop the Eastern Conference and currently hold the league's longest active winning streak, Larry Brown is still trying to figure things out with his new club in Charlotte. The 'Cats remain in the cellar of the East, as they've won just three of their last eight games and rank as the second-worst team in the conference.
Leading scorer Jason Richardson missed seven straight games with a sore/swollen right knee before returning to the lineup for last night's victory in Indiana, in which he posted 21 points on 8-21 shooting. Within the aforementioned seven-game streak, Charlotte went 2-5, but fought hard and lost by double-digits just once.
That seems to be the mark of a Larry Brown-led team; win or lose, you're going to play hard and at least go down swinging if losing is in the team's fate. As the Celtics know, that has been this team's attitude since day one of the franchise's existence. Heck, they even pulled out an eight-point victory against the green at the The Garden last season.
By looking at the standings prior to tonight's game, you wouldn't believe that this would be much of a contest, but once again, this Bobcats team very seldom goes out in blowout fashion. Let's hope the C's ate their Wheaties on the team plane.
PG SG SF PF C
PPG: Paul Pierce (18.4)
RPG: Kevin Garnett (8.6)
APG: Rajon Rondo (6.8)
SPG: Rajon Rondo (2.2)
BPG: Kendrick Perkins (2.1)
Celtics X-Factor: Fatigue
As mentioned in the introduction, the Celtics are gearing up for their sixth back-to-back of the month. Whether you're old or young, that has got to take a toll on your at some point, and nights like this can certainly produce "trap games." The C's fell right into one at Conseco Fieldhouse on November 1, where they dropped a road game to a far inferior Pacers team, 95-79. Let's not put ourselves in that situation again, boys.
PG SG SF PF C
PPG: Jason Richardson (18.0)
RPG: Emeka Okafor (11.1)
APG: Raymond Felton (5.2)
SPG: Gerald Wallace (2.2)
BPG: Emeka Okafor (1.7)
Bobcats X-Factor: Rebound
The Celtics are currently averaging nearly five more rebounds per game than Charlotte, who ranks 27th in the category as opposed to Boston's standing of eighth. Everybody and their mother knows that Charlotte is a weaker group, so they've got to make their mark on a couple of extremely important categories. Rebounding seems to be the key statistic in basketball; if you win the rebounding column, you're going to come out with a W more often than not. As long as the Cats can contest shots, finish defensive possessions with rebounds, and take advantage of both their younger legs and home crowd (which can sometimes be literally nonexistent), they may have a chance to win... or at least make their presence felt.
|2008 - Paul Pierce||18.4||6.8||3.6|
|2008 - Gerald Wallace||15.9||8.2||1.9|
Keys to Victory
- Dig Deep For Second Wind
- Own the Glass
- Strong Start