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Celtics Continue Trip Against Warriors

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Boston Celtics (41-10) at Golden State Warriors (32-21)
Wednesday, February 20
10:30 PM ET
Game #52, Away Game #25
TV: NBA LP Ch 759, FSBay HD, CSN HD
Radio: Sirius 126, WEEI
Oracle Arena
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Warriors Coverage   
Golden State of Mind     

The Celtics continue on their West Coast swing with a game in Oakland against the Golden State Warriors.  Both teams are playing in the second of back to back games and both teams traveled the night before so neither team has the advantage in that sense.  The Jazz are 7-5 in the second of back to back games.  Boh teams are coming off a loss and will look to get back on track in this game.  
The Warriors are first in the league in scoring with 109.7 points per game. The Celtics are tops in defense, holding teams to 88.2 points per game. Something will have to give in this game. It will all depend on whether the Celtics slack off on defense. If they play their regular brand of defense, the Warriors will not be able to score as they usually do. In their first meeting, the Celtics held them to 82 points while scoring 105 points themselves.

The Warriors are a good home team with a 17-9 home court record. The Warriors are also 14-0 when holding teams under 100 points. This is the second matchup for these two teams.  The Celtics won on their court 105-82 when they played in November so the Warriors could be looking for some payback. 

 
Probable Starting Matchups: 
PG:  Rajon Rondo vs Baron Davis
SG:  Ray Allen vs Monta Ellis
SF:   Paul Pierce vs Stephen Jackson
PF:   Kevin Garnett vs Matt Barnes
C:     Kendrick Perkins vs Chris Webber
Injuries
 
 Brian Scalabrine, out
 
Marco Belinelli, out
Patrick O'Bryant, out
Kosta Petrovic, out
Key Matchups
[image] Vs [image]
Rajon Rondo PPG 10.4 l APG 4.8 l SPG 1.8
Baron Davis PPG 21.7 | APG 8.1 | SPG 2.5

This will be a tough matchup for Rondo but he should be up to that task. Baron Davis has been playing very well and is a very strong point guard. Rondo will have to be strong on defense to keep Davis from taking over the game. In their first matchup, Rondo held Davis to 13 points on 3-13 shooting.

[image] Vs [image]
Kevin Garnett PPG 19.2 | RPG 9.9 | BPG 1.4
Matt Barnes PPG 8.2 | RPG 5.0 | BPG 0.6

This should be the matchup that Boston looks to exploit as Barnes gives up 4 inches to KG. Garnett should be able to beat Barnes every time down and the Celtics should look to get him the ball early and often.

Honorable Mention
Paul Pierce Paul Pierce PPG 20.6 | RPG 5.6| APG 4.8
Stephen Jackson PPG 20.9 | RPG 4.4 | APG 4.2
This should be a good matchup for both sides. Going all the way back to when Jackson played for Indiana, these two players have gone at it. Pierce needs to keep his composure and not get caught up in trash talking.

Keys to the game

Bench Play With both teams playing in the second of back to back games, fatigue could be a factor and both teams will need to depend on the benches to give the starters a rest.

Defense The Warriors are a high scoring team and the Celtics will need to concentrate on defense in order to win this game.  Their defense was still on break against the Nuggets and they have to get that defensive intensity back again if they want to finish this trip on a positive note.  

Keep their composure The Warriors play some tough defense themselves. They force 17.2 turnovers per game which is 2nd in the league. The Celtics need to take care of the ball and keep their composure and not allow the Warriors to hassle them into making mistakes.  They did a good job against the Nuggets in spite of the horrible officiating.

X-Factor  KG needs to shake the rust off.  If he plays well and gets back to normal, the Celtics have a much better chance of winning.   KG's rustiness seemed to throw the rest of the team off for the most part.