With 10 games remaining on the 2008-09 regular season schedule, the Celtics are finally rounding into shape health-wise. While catching Cleveland for tops in the Eastern Conference may be out of the question, the men in green still have something to play for over the course of the next three weeks. Orlando is currently one game behind Boston for the rights to the second seed in the conference, and with homecourt advantage at stake for a potential second-round matchup, each club's goal for the remainder of the regular season is identical - finish second in the East.
Tonight, Orlando will host the defending champs at Amway Arena, where a Magic victory would result in Orlando owning a better winning percentage by the end of the night. Should the Celtics pull out the victory, however, it would give the green a bigger cushion in the win-loss column as well as a 3-1 advantage over the Magic this season. That doesn't get the team a ring or even a medal, but does give the Celtics the upper-hand in case the two Eastern Conference contenders end the season with equal records.
It is more than expected that these two will meet in the second round of this year's playoffs. Neither Boston or Orlando wants to head into postseason play without homecourt advantage against the other. This is a big game that should produce plenty of emotion, aggression, and competitive spirit, especially after Orlando stole one in Boston earlier this month. In other words, this could be a "chippy" one.
Chippiness isn't always the route Doc wants to go, but I think it's safe to say that those types of battles provide the highest level of entertainment. Get your popcorn ready.
PG SG SF PF C
PPG: Paul Pierce (20.1)
RPG: Kevin Garnett (8.5)
APG: Rajon Rondo (8.5)
SPG: Rajon Rondo (1.9)
BPG: Kendrick Perkins (1.9)
PG SG SF PF C
PPG: Dwight Howard (21.0)
RPG: Dwight Howard (13.9)
APG: Jameer Nelson (5.4)
SPG: Rafer Alston (2.1)
BPG: Dwight Howard (3.0)
|2008 - Kendrick Perkins||8.6||8.1||1.2|
|2008 - Dwight Howard||21.0||13.9||1.4|
Leon Powe (bruised right knee - out)
Tony Allen (recovering from thumb surgery - out)
Brian Scalabrine (concussions/strained neck - out)
Jameer Nelson (torn right labrum - out)
Keys to Victory
- Control the Paint
- Timely Closeouts
- Ball Control
- Play With A Sense of Urgency