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Celtics Hoping for 2 in a Row As Spurs Come to Town

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San Antonio Spurs (33-15) at Boston Celtics (42-10)
Sunday, February 8
1:00 PM ET
Game #53, Home Game #28
TV: ABC
TD Banknorth Garden


Game Thread l Chat

After having their 12 game win streak snapped by the Lakers, the Celtics got back on the winning track with a win against the Knicks. They are hoping to begin a new streak with another win in this one as the Spurs make their only visit to Boston.

This is the first meeting between the two teams this season. Last season the Celtics swept the Spurs for the first time since the 1988-89 season.

Until March 17, 2007, the Celtics had an 18 game losing streak against the Spurs. Until that Celtic victory, Paul Pierce had never beaten the Spurs and Tim Duncan had never lost to the Celtics.

The Spurs hold a 38-34 edge in all times wins between the two teams but the Celtics have a 21-15 edge on their home court.

The Spurs have been one of the hottest teams in the league in the new year. They went 12-3 in January. This will be the 3rd game of their 8 game annual rodeo trip that will span from Feb 2 through Feb 21.

They lost their last game to the Nuggets, but in a curious move, Duncan, Finley, Parker and Ginobili all sat out the game. The Spurs have been resting since Tuesday while the Celtics are coming off 2 tough games.

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard
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Rajon Rondo vs Tony Parker

Shooting Guard
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Ray Allen vs Roger Mason

Small Forward
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Paul Pierce vs Michael Finley

Power Forward
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Kevin Garnett vs Tim Duncan

Center
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Kendrick Perkins vs Matt Bonner

Injuries
Boston Celtics Brian Scalabrine (concussion) day to day

San Antonio Spurs Ian Mahinmi (ankle) out

Key Matchups
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Rajon Rondo vs Tony Parker
Rondo has been compared to Parker by several writers but Parker has much more experience to draw on than Rondo does at this point in their careers. Still, when Rondo is aggressive and focused, he can pretty much take on any point guard in the league, including Parker.

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Kevin Garnett vs Tim Duncan
This is a matchup of the two best power forwards in the league. This should be a real battle inside and will be exciting to watch.

Honorable Mention
Ray Allen vs Roger Mason
This is a matchup between two of the top 3 point shooters in the NBA this season. Roger Mason will be competing in the 3 point shooting contest on All Star weekend and his shooting 45% from beyond the arc. Ray Allen is one of the best all time shooters from beyond the arc.

TeamConnections

Doc Rivers played for the Spurs from '94-96
Kurt Thomas and Eddie House were teammates on the Suns
Jacques Vaughn and Brian Scalabrine were teammates in New Jersey
Jacques Vaughn played for Doc in Orlando
Tim Duncan was the prize in the 1997 draft and the Celtics had the best chance of landing him but ended up with the 3rd and 6th picks instead.

Keys to the Game
Defense - The Spurs are a tough team both inside and out, and the Celtics will need to play tough team defense.
Ball Movement - The Celtics have let their offense get stagnant at times and let the ball stop moving. They will need to move the ball and find the open man. They also need to get the ball up the court quickly instead of walking it up.
Rebound The Celtics need to be aggressive on the boards to prevent second chance points by the Spurs. They also need to work the offensive boards so as not to be one shot and done.
Focus The Celtics need to focus for 48 minutes. They can't let the Spurs get out to a quick lead as it is tough to dig out of a hole against a team like the Spurs. They also have to play hard until the end of the game and not let up as the Spurs will take advantage of any let up on the Celtics part.

X-Factor
Rust vs Rest
The Spurs have been off since Tuesday and even in that game the Spurs rested their stars. In the meantime, the Celtics have been playing some tough games in spite of being slowed by the flu and minor injuries. The Spurs could be well rested or they could be rusty. The Celtics need to jump out quickly to take advantage of any rust they may have at the beginning of the game.