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Paul Pierce Closing in on 20K Points as Celtics Host Bucks

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Boston Celtics (3-1) vs. Milwaukee Bucks (1-3)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

8:00pm

TV: CSNNE/ESPN [] Radio: WEEI

Location: TD Garden

Game Thread [] Chat Room

After knocking off the lowly Detroit Pistons last night, 109-86, the Boston Celtics return to the TD Garden to host the 1-3 Milwaukee Bucks.

Paul Pierce could set a personal milestone tonight, as he is just 23 points shy of the 20,000 career point mark. Pierce scored 21 points on 8-13 shooting against the Pistons last night and has averaged 19.5 points per game through the first four games of the season. In three games against the Bucks last season, Pierce averaged 17.0 points, shot 46.2 percent from the field, just 25 percent from three-point nation (although he has shot 57.9 percent from the nation this season), and 93.3 percent from the free throw line.

The Bucks, who also played last night, have stumbled out of the gate, losing three of their first four games to the New Orleans Hornets, the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Portland Trailblazers (last night).

Projected Starters

Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jermaine O'Neal

Bucks: Brandon Jennings, John Salmons, Carlos Delfino, Drew Gooden, and Andrew Bogut

Injuries

For the Celtics, Kendrick Perkins (knee) and Delonte West (suspension) are out. There haven't been any updated reports on the statuses of Shaquille O'Neal and Avery Bradley. Neither traveled with the team to Detroit last night. More updates should be available as we grow closer to tip-off.

For the Bucks, Chris-Douglas Roberts (eye), Darington Hobson (hip), and Michael Redd (knee) are out.

Things to Keep an Eye On

  • The Celtics turned the ball over a season-low eight times last night against the Pistons. In their previous three games, the Celtics turned the ball over a total of 57 times. How will the Celtics fare with the ball tonight?
  • How many assists will Rajon Rondo dish out tonight? He's leading the league in assists per game with 16.75 and last night he set a new NBA record for most assists through the first four games of the season (67), moving ahead of Magic Johnson and John Stockton, who are now tied for second place with 65. Can he keep up this blistering pace?
  • Both Rondo and Milwaukee sophomore point guard Brandon Jennings have recorded triple-doubles this season. Rondo scored 10 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and handed out a career-high 24 assists against the New York Knicks last Friday, while Jennings scored 20 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and totaled 10 assists in the Bucks' lone win of the season against the Charlotte Bobcats on October 30. Who will win this matchup tonight?
  • In two games against the Celtics last season, Andrew Bogut averaged 25 points and 15.5 rebounds, while shooting 60 percent from the field. So far this season, Bogut's averaging 12.3 points and 10.5 rebounds, with nearly four of those rebounds per game coming on the offensive end. Jermaine O'Neal's best basketball this season has come on the defensive end of the floor, so (assuming O'Neal starts at center again tonight) keep an eye on this matchup.
  • Can Carlos Delfino effectively defend Paul Pierce?
  • A week ago today the Celtics suffered their first loss of the season on the second night of a back-to-back against the Cleveland Cavaliers (0-3 since they defeated the Celtics on opening night). Will the Celtics fare better tonight after a relatively easy victory over the Detroit Pistons in which every starter played less than 36 minutes? We'll find out.