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Celtics Looking for 4th Straight Win and Some Payback

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Los Angeles Clippers (17-52) at Boston Celtics (53-18)Monday, March 23
7:30 PM ET
Game # 72, Home Game #35
TV: CSN HD, FSN Prime Ticket, NBA LP 753
TD Banknorth Garden

Game Thread l Chat
This is the second and final meeting between these two teams on the opposite end of the standings. In the first meeting, the Clippers upset the Celtics with a 93-91 win. There was no KG in that game and it was Mikki Moore's debut in which he scored 4 points, pulled down 1 rebound and had 2 assists. The Clippers dominated the Celtics in the paint in that game with a 56-22 advantage.

The Clippers are just 7-26 on the road and the Celtics are 28-6 at home. The Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10 games but have won 3 in a row since KG returned to the lineup. The Clippers are 2-8 in their last 10 games and have lost 2 in a row.

The Clippers are playing in the second of back to back games having lost to the Raptors in Toronto the previous night. The Celtics are getting healthy and will be looking to avenge their loss in LA.

Starting SF Al Thornton sat out the game in Toronto with a sore shoulder. If he is out of the Celtics game as well, there will be a mismatch in the Celtics favor at that position. The Celtics will be looking for some revenge in this game and should get it. .

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Baron Davis

Shooting Guard
Ray Allen vs Eric Gordon

Small Forward
Paul Pierce vs Fred Jones

Power Forward
Kevin Garnett vs Zach Randolph

Kendrick Perkins vs Chris Kaman

Tony Allen (thumb) out
Brian Scalabrine (head) out
Leon Powe (knee) out

Ricky Davis (knee) day to day
Al Thornton (shoulder) day to day

Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Baron Davis
As goes Rondo so go the Celtics. Once again, Rondo is matched up with a very tough veteran PG in Baron Davis. Rondo should use his speed to get the better of this matchup.

Kevin Garnett vs Zach Randolph
Doc has said that KG would be increasing his minutes somewhat in this game. Zach Randolph is a big physical player and I expect to see Perk matched up with him on most plays and KG defending Chris Kaman. In the first meeting between these two teams without KG, Randolph finished with 30 points and 12 rebounds.

Team Connections
Baron Davis and Paul Pierce co-host a charity event each summer
Eddie House played for the Clippers in 03-04
Doc Rivers played for the Clippers 91-92
Marcus Camby played for Tom Thibodeau in New York from 98-02
Jason Hart and Eddie House were teammates in Charlotte 03-04
Ricky Davis played for the Celtics 03-06
Celtics assistant coach Armond Hill played for the Clippers 81-82
Brian Scalabrine, Gabe Pruitt and Paul Pierce are all from the LA area
Marcus Camby is from Hartford and played at UMass

Keys to the Game
Defense Defense wins games. The Celtics have been showing signs of getting back to the tough defense that has made them such a tough team and they need to continue to work on getting their defensive intensity back. Defense in the paint is going to be particularly important in this game.

Take Care of the Ball The Celtics have been one of the worst teams at turning the ball over all season. They need take care of the basketball and avoid sloppy play that leads to unforced turnovers.

Move the Basketball When the Celtics have 30 or more assists in a game they win. They have to move the ball and find the open man. They struggle when players look for their own shot.

The Celtics need to come out focused and regain their intensity on both ends of the court as they prepare for the playoffs. The only way the Celtics will lose this game is if they are not focused and give it away.