Last night's loss was difficult to watch, especially on Christmas day, but it's nothing more or less than a thing of the past. And a regular season game, to boot.
The winning streak was fun while it lasted - a franchise record 19 games. But what's done is done, and it's time to start a new winning streak in the midst of this four-game west coast swing. Tonight, the banged up Golden State Warriors will look to hand the Celtics their first back-to-back loss of the season.
And when I say banged up, I really mean it. Monta Ellis (left ankle) and Corey Maggette (right hamstring) are sure to miss tonight's game, while leading scorer Jamal Crawford (left groin) and captain Stephen Jackson (left hand) are listed as day-to-day.
However, some good as come from this. For instance, Marco Belinelli was recently given a large opportunity, and he has thus far made the most of it. Throughout the month of December, Belinelli is producing rounded averages of 14 points, three rebounds, and three assists per game on 46.9% shooting. As a starter in Golden State's last five games, he has put up 16 points, three rebounds, and 3.8 assists per on an even better shooting clip (48.4%).
Belinelli's strong play, though, has not been enough to equal wins. The Warriors have won just four of their last 20 games, and sit as a league's fifth-worst club record-wise. Boston, on the other hand, remains first in the standings with a 27-3 (.900) record, to go along with an anticipated level of hunger to rebound from yesterday's loss.
PG SG SF PF C
PPG: Ray Allen (18.5)
RPG: Kevin Garnett (8.9)
APG: Rajon Rondo (7.6)
SPG: Rajon Rondo (2.3)
BPG: Kendrick Perkins (1.8)
Celtics X-Factor: Focus
For over a year now, this team has preached the consistency of their mindset of taking it one game at a time and refusing to look ahead. Tonight, the C's need to do the same, and refrain from looking at the past as well.
Sure, last night's nine-point loss in LA was tough. We all wanted to see the green come out of Staples with their 20th straight W, and as Celtic fans, we obviously did not want to lose to the Lakers. However, it happened. We lost. It's over. Don't dwell on it; shake it off. Take care of business in Oakland, and don't think about anything more or less until tomorrow.
PG SG SF PF C
PPG: Jamal Crawford (19.3)
RPG: Andris Biedrins (11.8)
APG: Stephen Jackson (6.0)
SPG: Andris Biedrins (1.3)
BPG: Ronny Turiaf (2.2)
Warriors X-Factor: Jesus Christ
With the chance of this 8-22 team having to play tonight's game without four of its top five players, the only thing they can do is hope for the best.
Message to Warriors roster: rid of your typical pre-game rituals tonight. Just push them to the side. No more music, or anything else of that nature. Don't even pay attention to coach's game plan (as if Nellie hasn't already been tuned out). Just sit at your respective lockers and pray. That's right, pray.
|2008 - Kendrick Perkins||9.1||8.5||1.8|
|2008 - Andris Biedrins||14.6||11.8||1.5|
Stephen Jackson (strained left hand - game time decision)
Jamal Crawford (strained left groin - game time decision)
Corey Maggette (strained right hamstring - out)
Monta Ellis (left ankle sprain - out)
Keys to Victory
- Attack Basket
- Control the Glass
- Transition Defense
- Close Out