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Celtics Looking to Go Into Break on A Winning Note

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Boston Celtics (43-11) at Dallas Mavericks (31-20)
Thursday, February 12
9:30 PM ET
Game #55 Road Game #27
TV: TNT
American Airlines Center

Game Thread l Chat

The Celtics road trip started out on a high note with a win in New Orleans and they would love to go into the All Star break on a 2 game win streak. Standing in their way of said 2 game win streak is the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs are playing well and have won 4 of their last 5 games including a win in Orlando. The Mavs are a good home team and are 16-7 at home while the Celtics are 18-7 on the road.

The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games while the Mavs last played on Tuesday, a 118-100 win over Sacramento. The Celtics are coming off a win but lost Ray Allen in the process. Doc was doubtful that Ray could play in this one, but Ray has said that he plans to give it a go against the Mavericks.

The Mavericks have former Celtic Gerald Green on their roster but once again, he has failed to make a case for playing time and played in only 24 games and is averaging 5.6 points per game in 11 mpg. The Mavs don't always play defense but are good when they do with an 11-0 record when holding teams under 90 points..

In the first meeting between these two teams the Celtics had an easy time, winning 124-100. Nowitzki and Howard both had 18 points for the Mavs while Jason Terry added 27 off the bench. KG, Ray and Eddie House all had 23 to lead the Celtics. The Celtics are 12-0 when playing on 2 days rest and are 10-3 in the second of back to back games this season.

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard
vs
Rajon Rondo vs Jason Kidd

Shooting Guard
vs
Ray Allen vs Antoine Wright

Small Forward
vs
Paul Pierce vs Josh Howard

Power Forward
vs
Kevin Garnett vs Dirk Nowitzki

Center
vs
Kendrick Perkins vs Erick Dampier

Boston Celtics Injuries
Brian Scalabrine (concussion) out
Tony Allen (thumb) out

Dallas MavericksInjuries
Jason Terry (hand) out


Key Matchups
vs
Rajon Rondo vs Jason Kidd
Kidd may be slowing down, but he is still a tough matchup. Rondo has to continue to be aggressive and use his speed to beat Kidd.

vs
Kevin Garnett vs Dirk Nowitski
Dirk is a tough cover since he is a threat from beyond the arc as well as in the paint. KG needs to make Dirk work on both ends of the court.

Team Connections
Brian Scalabrine and Jason Kidd were teammates in New Jersey
Gerald Green was originally drafted by the Celtics with the 18th pick in the 2005 draft
Brandon Bass and Big Baby Davis are former LSU Tigers
Mavs Coach Rick Carlisle played for the Celtics from 1984-1087 and won a ring with the Celtics in 1986.

Keys to the Game
Defense When the Celtics play their trademark tough defense, they are very hard to beat. Their defensive intensity has slipped considerably in recent games however and they need to get back to the tough lock down defense that they have played in the past.

Rebound The Mavericks are a very good rebounding team and the Celtics need to be aggressive in crashing the boards and going after rebounds. Limiting the Mavs' second chance points will be important. They allowed too many tip ins and put backs by the Spurs and need to improve that in this game.

Limit Turnovers The Celtics still turn the ball over too much and they need to work on taking better care of the ball. A team like the Mavs will make them pay by converting the turnovers into points. Most turnovers are the result of a lack of focus and so the Celtics mus also improve their level of focus.

Be Aggressive The Celtics need to be aggressive in going after loose balls and taking the ball to the basket. While the Celtics are good shooters, they shouldn't depend on the outside shot. They need to aggressively take the ball to the hoop as well as be aggressive in going after loose balls and rebounds.

X-Factor
Back to Back
The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games. Last season they were very good in back to back situations, but this season they tend to lose focus and look tired in the second game. Hopefully they will be able to bring the energy they need to win this one. It would be nice to go into the All Star break on a win.