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Game #51 - Preview: Boston Celtics @ Denver Nuggets

Boston Celtics
Record: 41-9
Last Ten Games: 8-2
Points scored per game: 99.8
Points allowed per game: 89.4
Pace Factor: 90.6 (18th of 30)
Offensive Rating: 109.7 (10th of 30)
Defensive Rating: 98.3 (1st of 30)

Denver Nuggets
Record: 32-20
Last Ten Games: 6-4
Points scored per game: 106.7
Points allowed per game: 103.9
Pace Factor: 98.8 (1st of 30)
Offensive Rating: 106.8 (14th of 30)
Defensive Rating: 104.1 (5th of 30). Usually you'd think a team that gave up 104 points a game would not be 5th in any defensive ranking. This is the point where my struggles with statistical analysis are revealed and everyone mocks me. But I assume it has something to do with the Nuggets speeding up the pace of the game.

Hat tip to basketball-reference.com for info on the Celtics and the Nuggets.

Rajon Rondo vs. Anthony Carter
Ray Allen vs. Allen Iverson
Paul Pierce vs. Carmelo Anthony
Kevin Garnett? vs. Kenyon Martin
Leon Powe? vs. Marcus Camby

Celtics Starters

The national media says KG will play on Tuesday. It could happen, but I wouldn't bet on it. Meanwhile, Brian Scalabrine will be out, Glen Davis should be back, and I don't really know about Kendrick Perkins' status. Given all that I think Powe gets the start against the team that drafted him.

Four Points About Kenyon Martin

  1. When I saw "K.Martin" in the Nuggets' box score I immediately thought "Kevin Martin". I quickly remembered it was actually Kenyon that plays for the Denver Nuggets. Still Kenyon Martin is no longer the alpha K. Martin. Although Kevin Martin shouldn't fight Kenyon Martin anytime soon.

  2. A lot of people who cover the Nets criticized New Jersey for trading Martin. Fair enough. Although in hindsight, given Martin's injuries, it was the right move. But I've read that Jason Kidd never forgave the Nets for the deal. That doesn't even make sense.

  3. When I think back to what Martin did to Antoine Walker in the playoffs it still makes me shudder.

  4. Remember when Martin was a flagrant foul machine? In his defense Martin may be the only person ever to get a rise out of Tim Thomas.
Something I would Pay a Lot of Money For...

A book on Allen Iverson's All Star weekend experiences. Every year he made it could its own chapter. It would be awesome. Although chances are neither Iverson nor the people who were with him remember everything. He's a legend...By the way, when I say "a lot of money" I mean $20.

The Last Time They Met

The Celtics absolutely dominated the Nuggets, winning the game by 26 points. And it wasn't that close. Granted the Nuggets lost in a tight game to the Knicks (I know!) the night before and Boston had been off for two days. Furthermore, in the first minute Mike Gorman revealed that the Nuggets openly admitted to being out of gas the previous night. Still, the C's scored 77 in the first half and led by 39 at the break.

Random Piece of Information From Their Last Meeting

Bob Cousy was not impressed with KG's pre game powder ritual. He flinched when the Big Ticker did it and had the same smile my grandmother does when she's clearly annoyed but trying to mask it. The Cooz then said, "What a quaint custom that is Michael. I think Kevin's been in Minnesota a little too long."

Pass the Rock

I would say that I'm a pretty positive blogger. I tend to avoid the doom and gloom and enjoy the game. But in the back of my mind I miss the way the Celtics passed the ball at the beginning of the season. Perhaps the Nuggets simply weren't playing much defense on that night in November. And maybe defense around the league improves as the season progresses. Of course injuries have hurt the Celtics. Still I miss the phenomenal passing.

Who are you and what have you done with Bob Cousy?

In the first three minutes of the game one of KG's passes reminded the Cooz of Larry Bird. That was the tip of the iceberg. He had nice things to say all night. Cousy even complimented Allen Iverson.  I mean the Cooz called a few of Rondo's steals "outstanding". Consider the following exchange:

"Tommy this is about as flawless a display of, of offense I've seen from a Celtic team that I can remember in some time." - Cousy

"So nice to have you happy beside us." - Mike Gorman

I'm Not a Point Guard but I Play One on TV Sometimes

The last time they met Chucky Atkins, Anthony Carter and the since jettisoned Mike Wilks were all injured. That's not exactly a murderer's row. However, all three of those guys could play the point so Iverson would not have to. Carter is back now and that frees up Iverson.

Do That Thing You Do

4 minutes and 6 seconds into the game Carmelo Anthony was fouled. He flipped up a shot after the whistle and KG jumped up and caught it. It was completely unnecessary and awesome. Definitely the kind of play that would annoy me if someone did it to the Celtics. When healthy Garnett does it all the time.

Another Team with Injuries

Nene had a malignant tumor. Kenyon Martin's health is always dicey. Marcus Camby has some knee concerns. Chucky Atkins had surgery on a groin strain. The NBA: Where Injuries Happen.

Linas Kleiza

I really like his game. He was a tough guy at Missouri and he's brought that to the NBA. And Kleiza can shoot too. Apparently Kings and Knicks might like him too. More on him later in Q&A with Pickaxe and Roll.

TONY ALLEN!

I really got an appreciation of how far Allen has come after watching that third game of the season again. What a difference three months can make.

Random YouTube Moment

Remember when A.I. didn't have cornrows and a ton of tattoos? Well he had his crossover:

By the way Iverson had the right attitude with Jordan. Go right at him. Don't let him intimidate. I bet you thought I was going with the practice clip. Touché.