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Celtics Look to Bounce Back vs Speedy Warriors

(23-6) at (8-21)

Boston Celtics (23-6) at Golden State Warriors (8-21)
Monday, December 28
10:30 PM ET

Game #30, Home Game #16
TV: CSN-NE, CSN BA, NBA LP 758, 759
Oracle Arena

Today's Referees: Derrick Stafford l Brian Forte l Gary Zielinski

Game Thread l Chat

After a tough loss to a team they should have dominated, the Celtics regroup to face another team that they should dominate. But, the Warriors love to run and in the second game of back to backs after a game that went down to the wire, the last thing the Celtics want to do is run for 48 minutes. The Celtics slacked off on defense against the Clippers and it cost them last night. They need to get back to their defensive mindset and shut down the Warriors' fast break.

The Warriors' record isn't indicative of the talent on this team. They have been devastated by injuires and have missed 124 player games to injuries so far this season. This is an average of 4.3 players out with injuries per game. With all the injuries their lineups have been in constant flux. But, in spite of all the injuries, here are some surprising stats:
The Warriors are 3rd in points per game at 106.3
They are 1st in the league in steals at 9.82 per game
They are first in fast break points with 23.0 per game
They are 1st in points off turnovers at 22.1 per game and
They are 1st in turnovers forced per game at 18.5

Also. they have a strong bench, and even with all the injuries, their bench is 4th in the league in scoring with 36.8 points per game. Their reserves have outscored their counterparts in 16 of their 29 games.

The Warriors used just 6 players in a win over the Mavs on 11/24. This is the first time that a team won using just 6 players since 1952 when the Baltimore Bullets beat the Fort Wayne Pistons using just 6 players.

Former Celtic, Don Nelson, is just 16 wins away from becoming the winningest coach in the NBA. He is currently at 1317 victories. Currently in his 46th year in the NBA as a player, coach, GM or consultant, no one has
participated in more games as a player and head coach than the 3,398 that "Nellie" has notched in his career. He played 14 seasons in the league, all with the Celtics, and won 5 championship rings as a Celtic.

This team is not to be taken lightly. They can score quickly and a lot. And they love to get into the passing lanes and disrupt their opponents' offense. The Celtics have to stay focused against them or they could end up with a second straight loss. The key to this game will be the Celtics getting their defensive focus back.

Probable Starters
PG Rajon Rondo

SG Ray Allen

SF Tony Allen

PF Kevin Garnett

C Kendrick Perkins

Probable Starters
PG Stephen Curry

SG Monta Ellis

SF Anthony Morrow

PF Corey Maggette

C Anthony Randolph

Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Stephen Curry
Stephen Curry is a good young point guard and had been impressive so far in his rookie season. Against Chris Paul recently, Curry had 17 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists. He sometimes has lapses on defense and Rondo needs to be aggressive and take advantage of those lapses. I expect a good game from Rondo tonight as he tries to make up for missing the free throws that could have won the game for the Celtics last night.

Ray Allen vs Monta Ellis
Ellis is averaging over 25 points per game and could be a tough matchup for Ray on defense. Look for Tony to slide over and cover Ellis to allow Ray to concentrate more on his offense. This will be a big test for Tony as he tries to shut doen the Warrior's best scorer.

Honorable Mention
Kevin Garnett vs Corey Maggette
Maggette has been playing well for the Warriors and is averaging 17.6 ppg. KG has a big height advantage in this matchup and so should be able to have a big game on both ends of the court.

Game Notes
• Celtics split the season series 1-1 against Golden State in 2008-09
Paul Pierce led the Celtics with 21.0 points per game last season
• In his one appearance against the C’s, Corey Maggette netted 38 points for the Warriors
• The Celtics are 4-6 against Golden State since the 2004-05 season
• The Celtics are leading the all-time series 194-127 with the Celtics 108-34 at home

Keys to the Game
Defense - The Warriors can put points on the board quickly and in bunches. It will be important for the Celtics to bring their defensive intensity into this game, especially shutting down their fast breaks.

Rebound - The Celtics need to crash the boards to keep the Warriors from igniting their fast breaks. In the second game of back to backs, the Celtics legs may be getting tired and they can keep the Warriors from running as much and also give themselves some second chance points if they are aggressive in grabbing the rebounds.

Take Care of the Ball - The Warriors can be very disruptive by getting into the passing lanes. They average 9.82 steals a game and are best in the league at forcing turnovers. The Celtics need to stay focused and not give the Warriors any easy opportunities to steal the ball or to score.

The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games and in the 3rd game of a 4 game road trip. Their legs were looking tired in the second half of the Clippers game as they were short on a lot of jumpers. Fatigue could be the difference in this game.

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