Venue: Amway Arena
Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Tony Allen, Kevin Garnett, Kendrick Perkins
Magic: Jameer Nelson, Vince Carter, Mickael Pietrus, Rashard Lewis, Dwight Howard
Health Check: For the Celtics, forward Paul Pierce (knee infection) and guard Marquis Daniels (thumb) are out. Forward Glen Davis (thumb) is questionable.
For the Magic, forward Matt Barnes (hand) and center Adonal Foyle (knee) are listed as day-to-day.
Keep It In Mind: Back on November 20, the Magic shot 10-22 from three-point nation.
Who's Hot: For the Celtics, Ray Allen scored 23 points against the Pacers on Tuesday.
For the Magic, five players scored in double figures in their victory over Houston on Wednesday.
Who's Not: For the Celtics, Brian Scalabrine went 0-5 from the field and finished with just two points against the Pacers on Tuesday.
For the Magic, Mickael Pietrus was the only Orlando starter who didn't score in double figures against Houston on Wednesday.
Key Matchup: Rasheed Wallace vs. Dwight Howard
Honorable Mention: Kevin Garnett vs. Rashard Lewis
Skinny: Looking back on the first meeting between these two teams, the Celtics actually played very well against the Magic. They out-rebounded Orlando, 43-42, had one more assist (20-19) and had eight fewer turnovers. The Celtics held Dwight Howard in check from a scoring stand point (nine points, 15 rebounds, three blocks), but could not contain the Magic's three-point shooters. The Magic's 10-22 mark from three-point nation proved to be the difference in the first matchup between these teams.
With Pierce out, it's unlikely the Celtics will be able to replace his scoring, but they can make a more consolidated effort on the defensive end, which is what they will probably have to do throughout Pierce's absence. Regardless of who starts for this team today, the C's have to once again make a concerted effort on the boards, keep the Magic from easy buckets in transition and limit their three-point attempts.
The other four typical starters will have to shoulder more of a load with Pierce out and keep an eye on Rajon Rondo in particular. It wouldn't be outlandish to think Rondo will really step his game up throughout this stretch, particularly on the offensive side. The Celtics saw how tough it was to make adjustments on the defensive end on Tuesday without Garnett in the lineup and now they'll see what the offense looks like without Pierce in the fold.
Finally, Rasheed Wallace played Howard almost flawlessly in the fourth quarter of the first matchup between these teams. He did an excellent job of bodying Howard up in the paint before jumping him on the entry pass and tipping the ball away. Furthermore, Wallace cemented his performance by scoring a variety of buckets down low, and would be wise to employ a similar strategy today.