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44-11 Bos_medium @ Uth_medium 31-23
Thursday, February 19, 2009
10:30 pm ET
EnergySolutions Arena (Salt Lake City, UT)

Game Thread | Chat

Over the past week, the attention shifted towards the dunk contest, the All-Star game, H-O-R-S-E, and the 2009 NBA trading deadline. All-Star weekend has passed, along with today's league trading deadline. The focus is back where it should be (unless you've got the names "Stephon Marbury" and/or "Joe Smith" lingering in the back of your mind); we've got more games to play.

The C's enter the post-All-Star stretch with the East's best record at 44-11, which puts them 1.5 games ahead of Cleveland, but the upcoming schedule isn't necessarily peachy. As Boston typically does, they'll come out of All-Star weekend on a West Coast road trip, which is a virtual extension of their New Orleans/Dallas back-to-back stint from last week. Before they head to Phoenix, Denver, and LA, they'll be hosted by the injury-plagued Utah Jazz tonight in Salt Lake City.

The Jazz picked up their play as of late by winning five of their six games so far this month. The biggest proponent to Utah's recent surge is none other than Deron Williams, who is widely considered the second-best point guard in the league behind Chris Paul. Through the last five games, Williams has held jaw-dropping averages of 30 points, 10.4 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per contest on an ultra-efficient 54.6% shooting clip.

Rajon Rondo has his work cut out for him tonight, as does the Celtic defense, who will be facing perhaps one of the most complete offensive attacks in the NBA.

Projected Starters

Team Leaders
PPG: Paul Pierce (19.9)
RPG: Kevin Garnett (8.9)
APG: Rajon Rondo (8.5)
SPG: Rajon Rondo (2.0)
BPG: Kendrick Perkins (1.8)

Projected Starters

Team Leaders
PPG: Carlos Boozer (20.5)
RPG: Carlos Boozer (11.7)
APG: Deron Williams (10.2)
SPG: Andrei Kirilenko (1.6)
BPG: Andrei Kirilenko (1.4)

Key Matchup

Pts Reb Ast
2008 - Rajon Rondo 11.2 5.4 8.5

Pts Reb Ast
2008 - Deron Williams 19.2 2.8 10.2

Injury Report
Tony Allen (thumb surgery - out)
Brian Scalabrine (concussion - day-to-day)
Carlos Boozer (left knee surgery - out)
Mehmet Okur (flu - day-to-day)

Keys to Victory

  • Control the Glass
  • Ball Movement
  • Defensive Awareness (watch cuts, screens, back doors, etc.)

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