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Game #71 - Preview: Celtics vs. Suns

Boston Celtics
Record: 55-15
Last Ten Games: 7-3
Points scored per game: 100.3
Points allowed per game: 90.4   
Pace Factor: 91.0 (17th of 30)
Offensive Rating: 109.9 (10th of 30)
Defensive Rating: 99.1 (1st of 30)

Phoenix Suns
Record: 47-23
Last Ten Games: 7-3
Points scored per game: 110.1
Points allowed per game: 105.2
Pace Factor: 96.9 (4th of 30)
Offensive Rating: 113.0 (2nd of 30)
Defensive Rating: 107.9 (16th of 30)

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

Rajon Rondo vs. Steve Nash
Ray Allen vs. Raja Bell
Paul Pierce vs. Grant Hill
Kevin Garnett vs. Amare Stoudemire
Kendrick Perkins vs. Shaquille O'Neal

Schedule Notes
The Suns defeated the Houston Rockets at home on Sunday but saw their 7 game win streak come to an end in Detroit on Monday. Their east coast swing continues in Boston on Wednesday against a Celtics team that lost to Philly at home on Monday. Advantage Boston.

Last Time They Met
The Suns jumped out to a huge lead and threatened to run the Celtics right out of the building. In fact it was similar to the first quarter Boston recently played in San Antonio. However, unlike against the Spurs, the Celtics could not put it together and lost to Phoenix in one of those games where the final score (85-77) did not look as bad as the game actually was. To be honest a loss wouldn't bother me that much this time around. But a win would be awesome.

KG vs. Amare
The last time they met Garnett was still shaking off the rust of being injured and the younger Stoudemire went right at him. The two mixed it up a bit and at one point Stoudemire was whistled for a technical foul. However, KG picked up a few cheap fouls while guarding the fellow straight from high school to the pros player. And when KG went to the bench in foul trouble the Celtics last comeback bid fell apart. I'm told that Rasheed Wallace handled Stoudemire in Detroit on Monday, letting him know he was doing just that in the process. So between that and KG and the Celtics looking to even the score this has the makings of a good one.

The Shaq Effect
Make no mistake I was against the trade. In fact I remember saying it was bad for the NBA. I forgot that Miami possibly shutting Shaq down for the season is far, far worse. And I will say this. Even though their first meeting was one of Shaq's first games as a Sun, he made a difference. He is such a presence down low and Stoudemire was able to cheat on defense more as well. The big guy may have more left than I gave him credit for.

If You Work for the Suns and Don't Have a Blog...
...what the hell is wrong with you? Ok that's an exaggeration. But the organization does have a lot of people blogging. Check out that roster. The web structure coordinator, publishing assistant, photo archivist...

Suns Organization
I'm not a big Robert Sarver guy. To be honest I'm not an Amare Stoudemire fan either. And while we're on the topic I don't care for Phoenix's marketing campaign (Planet Orange) or its website. But other than that what's not to like? Steve Kerr is the one of my favorite guys associated with the NBA. Steve Nash, Leandro Barbosa, Grant Hill (minus the Duke thing), the coaching staff, Raja Bell and Shaq are all great in their own way. It's a fun team.