Monday, November 8, 2010
TV: Comcast SportsNet  Radio: WEEI
Venue: American Airlines Center
The Boston Celtics continue their four-game road swing tonight when they take on the Dallas Mavericks at 8:30pm. The Celtics vanquished the Jeff Green-less Oklahoma City Thunder last night, 92-83, to move to 6-1 through their first seven games. Both the starters and the bench played well for extended stretches last night, in what was a very balanced effort for the Celtics. Ray Allen led the way with 19 points and five rebounds, Paul Pierce shrugged off a slow start and finished with 17 points, and Rajon Rondo notched another double-double, posting 10 points and 10 assists, to go along with five rebounds and three steals.
Equally important to the output of the starters was the effort of the bench players, who tallied 33 total points and kept Oklahoma City at bay for the first half of the fourth quarter. Glen Davis (eight points) buried three critical jumpers early in the final period, Marquis Daniels's presence was felt on offense and defense, particularly against Kevin Durant for stretches, and Semih Erden put forth one of his best efforts in a Boston uniform with nine points (5-5 from the free throw line) and four rebounds.
Dallas, meanwhile, enters tonight with a 3-2 record, with losses to Memphis and Denver under its belt. The Mavericks fell to the Nuggets, 103-92 on Saturday, despite Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki combining for 49 points. Dallas's bench managed just 19 points, with 12 of those coming solely from Shawn Marion.
Dallas enters tonight's game ranked 18th in offensive efficiency and fifth in defensive efficiency (97.4 points allowed per 100 possessions), two spots behind the Celtics.
Celtics: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Jermaine O'Neal
Mavericks: Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Caron Butler, Dirk Nowitzki, and Tyson Chandler
For the Celtics, center Kendrick Perkins (knee) and guard Avery Bradley (ankle) are out, while Shaquille O'Neal will be a game-time decision for a second straight night. Delonte West (suspension) is out.
For the Mavericks, point guard Roddy Beaubois (foot) is out.
Rajon Rondo vs. Jason Kidd - Rondo and Kidd currently rank first and second, respectively, in assists per game average. Rondo's dishing out 14.2 per game, while Kidd's handing out 10.8 per night. Rondo should hold an edge over the 37-year old Kidd, on both sides of the ball. Offensively, he shouldn't have any difficulty penetrating against Kidd, and defensively, he should be more than quick enough to pressure Kidd and make him as uncomfortable as possible.
Kidd's shooting a very respectable 40 percent from three-point nation, but his overall field goal percentage sits at just 39.5 percent. He and Rondo, on top of being two of the game's best passing point guards, are also two of the league's best rebounding point guards. Kidd enters tonight's game averaging five rebounds per game, while Rondo's currently sporting a 5.4 rebounds per game average.
Things to Consider
- Tonight's game will be the second night of a back-to-back for Boston. Will they have the legs to keep up with Dallas?
- Boston's bench was pivotal in last night's victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Four different players off the pine scored at least seven points for the Celtics. Can they put forth such a performance again tonight in what is arguably a more difficult game?
- Much of Dirk Nowitzki's offense this season has come 10 feet and farther from the rim. If Kevin Garnett is taken away from the basket and forced to play along the perimeter, how will that impact Boston's interior defense? Will this put added pressure on Jermaine O'Neal, who admitted last night that he's still feeling pain in his left knee?
- Can Caron Butler defend Paul Pierce? I worry more about Shawn Marion.
- Hopefully Jason Terry gets worn out chasing Ray Allen all over the court. The Celtics would certainly benefit from a slow offensive night from him (he's currently shooting 50 percent from three-point nation).