9:30 PM ET
Wow! Unbelievable! Crazy! Amazing! Exciting! Those adjectives could be used to describe last night’s 93-91 victory in San Antonio, which has pushed Boston’s winning streak against the Spurs to three games. Those adjectives could also be used to describe Houston’s 22-game winning streak, in which they’ve won the last 10 without Yao Ming, who will miss the remainder of the season with a broken foot. The Rockets are simply on fire, and currently hold the second-longest winning streak in NBA history.
The men in green will get their shot at shredding the streak tonight on national TV (TNT), and no matter what the players say publicly, they want this game badly. Not only do they want to put Houston’s winning streak to a halt, they want to begin their own mini-streak on the west coast. They may, however, be a little winded. Last night’s St. Patrick’s Day thriller went down to the wire, and if you add travel time and jet lag, it’s only natural for the C’s to feel a bit fatigued. Houston, on the other hand, had last night off and should be well-rested.
Let’s slice Houston’s fun to pieces, and in the name of Will Ferrell, let’s rally up the troops and go streaking ourselves.
C Kendrick Perkins / Dikembe Mutombo
PF Kevin Garnett / Luis Scola
SF Paul Pierce / Shane Battier
SG Tony Allen / Tracy McGrady
PG Rajon Rondo / Rafer Alston
Key Matchup: Paul Pierce vs. Shane Battier
Any time you have one of the best offensive players in the league against one of the best defensive players in the league, you’ve got a special matchup. Battier is known for his excellent defensive abilities, whether he is covering a guard, swingman, or even a power forward. If Adelman decides to go small, we may even see Battier get a shot at defending Garnett. Paul Pierce may very well put up big numbers tonight, but he’ll have to work for it.
Celtics X-Factor: Tony Allen/James Posey
Tony Allen and James Posey are likely going to get the longest looks at defending Tracy McGrady, who is one of the most talented offensive players we’ve seen in the past decade. McGrady is the key to their offense, whether he’s scoring himself or setting up his teammates with his spectacular court vision. Tony Allen has the lateral quickness to stick with him, but is at a heavy disadvantage in the height department. Posey is bigger than McGrady, but may not be able to sprint like "T-Mac" can. It’ll be interesting to see who does the best job on him.
BOS – Ray Allen (sore left ankle - unlikely)
BOS – Scot Pollard (torn tendon in left ankle – out for season)
HOU – Yao Ming (broken left foot – out for season)
HOU – Steve Francis (left quadriceps surgery – out for season)
HOU – Carl Landry (bruised right knee – questionable)
Celtics Keys to the Game
- Contain McGrady
- Own the Paint
- Defensive Rotations
- Limit Turnovers