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Celtics Look to Get Back on Track Against Bucks

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Boston Celtics (51-12) at Milwaukee Bucks (23-42)
Saturday, March 15
8:30 PM ET
Game #65, Road Game #31
TV: NBA LP ch754, CSNHD, FSN Wisconsin
Radio: WEEI, Sirius 121
Bradley Center
 
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The Celtics embark on a 5 game road trip with this game in Milwaukee.  This will be the only Eastern Conference team and the only sub .500 team on the trip.  The Celtics are going to want to get the trip off to a good start with a win in this game since the next 4 games are against teams in a virtual lock for the Southwest division lead.  The Celtics will be looking to bounce back from an embarassing  blowout at the hands of the Jazz while the Bucks are coming off a 4 point loss to the Jazz.  
 
The Celtics won the first matchup between these two teams 104-82 when they played in December.  The Celtics were without Kendrick Perkins in that game, who was sitting out with the infamous bed on the toe accident.  
 
The Bucks are 17-15 at home and the Celtics are 22-8 on the road.  The Bucks have lost 4 in a row and are 3-7 in their last 10 games.  The Celtics are coming in with a 4 game road winning streak and a 10 game winning streak overall.   Over the last two games the Bucks have outrebounded their opponents 45-37.  
 
The Celtics may be without Ray Allen in this one after he injured his ankle or heel against the Jazz.  He accompanied the team on the trip but Doc said that he has to be 100% healthy before he will play him.   The Bucks may be without Andrew Bogut and Mo Williams.  Williams practiced for the first time in 2 weeks and Bogut sat out practice with a hip injury.  Both are game time decisions. 

More After the Jump   
Probable Starting Matchups  *
PG:   Rajon Rondo vs Royal Ivey  
SG:   Ray Allen vs Michael Redd
SF:   Paul Pierce vs Bobby Simmons
PG:   Kevin Garnett vs Charlie Villanueva
C:      Kendrick Perkins vs Andrew Bogut 
*Subject to change due to injury updates.  Mo Williams, Bogut, and Ray Allen are all game time decisions.   
 

Key Matchups
  vs 
Kevin Garnett vs Charlie Villanueva
KG had a sub par game against the Jazz and I expect him to come out with very good focus in this one and win this matchup. 

  vs 
Kendrick Perkins   vs   Andrew Bogut 
Perk has been playing great over the past couple of weeks and he will need a big game here to neutralize Bogut who plays tough inside as well. 


Keys to the Game

Fast out of the Gate  The Celtics need to come out strong to begin the game.   It is difficult to come back from a deficit on the road and the Celtics should try to get off to a fast start to avoid this.  They came out sluggish against the Jazz and never could recover. 

Defense  On their last road trip, the Celtics forgot how to play defense and it resulted in 3 losses in 5 games.  The Celtics need to keep up their defensive intensity on this trip.  They allowed the Jazz to shoot 51% from the field and they won't be able to win games when letting teams get that many easy shots. 

Hustle  The Celtics need to prove that they want this game more by hustling for loose balls and rebounds. They were out rebounded by the Jazz and need to put out more of an effort in this area.

X-Factor
Focus and Intensity 
When the Celtics are focused and play with intensity on the defensive end of the floor, the Celtics win.  When they lose focus and allow the other team to dictate the tempo, they end up with a loss.  The Celtics have to want it more than the Bucks.