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Celtics look to get back on track as they host the Spurs

The Celtics try to rebound from their worst loss of the season as they host the surging San Antonio Spurs.



San Antonio Spurs (8-3) at Boston Celtics (6-5)
Wednesday, November 21, 2012
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #12 Home Game #6
TD Garden
Referees: Ron Garretson, David Jones, Mark Lindsay

Game Thread l Chat

Boston Celtics Tickets

The Celtics try to rebound from their worst loss of the season as they host the surging San Antonio Spurs. The Celtics should be rested coming into this game as they have had off since Sunday. The Spurs played on Monday when they lost to the Clippers at home 92-87.

The Spurs are a good road team with a 4-1 record away from home. The Celtics are looking to establish home dominance this season, but so far are just 3-2 at the Garden. The Celtics are coming off their worst loss of the season, a very lackluster effort against the Pistons who to that point were just 1-9. the Spurs are coming off a loss at home to the Clippers. Both teams will be looking to get back into the win column in this game.

The Celtics faced the Spurs just one time last season, an 87-86 loss at the TD Garden. Paul Pierce missed a jumper at the buzzer that would have been the game winner had it gone. That loss ended a 5 game win streak for the Celtics. This is the first game of a 6 game in 9 days road trip for the Spurs and they will want to get off to a good start.

The game will feature two future hall of fame big men in Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan. Both have re-signed at a bargain with their teams in hopes of winning another championship before they hang up their sneakers. Which future Hall of Famer will get a win for their team?

It also features a matchup of two of the top point guards in the league. Both are quick and both are competitive and it should be a fun matchup to watch. A third matchup to watch will be Paul Pierce and Stephen Jackson. Both tend to be physical and both will do whatever it takes to get the advantage. Watch for these two competitors to get under each others' skin as has happened many times in the past.

The Spurs are thin at small forward with Kawhi Leonard already out with a knee injury, Stephen Jackson broke his finger in their loss to the Clippers on Monday and will also be out. Their game notes have the small forward spot blank so I'm not sure who they will start there. I'm putting Gary Neal there just on a guess since he has previously started for them. But that's just a guess.

The Celtics need to bounce back from the drubbing in Detroit and get back on the winning track. If they play their game and come in focused, I have no doubt that they can win this game.

Probable Starters
Probable Starters
PG: Rajon Rondo 13.2 PPG 13.1 APG 2.1 SPG
SG: Jason Terry 11.0 PPG 2.0 APG .3853P%
SF: Paul Pierce 19.3 PPG 6.0 RPG 3.0 APG
PF: Brandon Bass 9.2 PPG 5.1 RPG 0.9 BPG
C: Kevin Garnett 15.1 PPG 7.4 RPG 0.8 BPG

Celtics Reserves
Jared Sullinger
Jason Collins
Jeff Green
Courtney Lee
Leandro Barbosa
Chris Wilcox
Leandro Barbosa

Avery Bradley (shoulders) out
Darko Milicic (Personal) day to day
Paul Pierce (ankle) probable

Red Claws
Fab Melo
Kris Joseph

Probable Starters
PG: Tony Parker 14.2 PPG 7.9 APG 0.6 SPG
SG: Danny Green 11.7 PPG 1.3 APG ..457 3P%
SF: Gary Neal 9.8 PPG 2.4 RPG 1.9 APG
PF: Tim Duncan 17.8 PPG 9.6 RPG 2.8 BPG
C: Dejuan Blair 7.3 PPG 5.0 RPG 0.3 BPG

Matt Bonner
Nando De Colo
Boris Diaw
Manu Ginobili
Patrick Mills
Tiago Splitter
Cory Joseph

Kawhi Leonard (knee) out
Stephen Jackson (finger) out

Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Tony Parker
When Rondo is aggressive and focused, he can pretty much take on any point guard in the league, including Parker. Rondo usually gets up for big games and this is a big one. Hopefully aggressive Rondo shows up for this one.

Brandon Bass vs Tim Duncan
Brandon will have his hands full in this matchup. Duncan still brings a lot to the table, especially defensively. He is great at getting position for rebounds and tip ins and Bass and the other Celtics bigs need to concentrate on keeping him away from the basket.

Honorable Mention
Jason Terry vs Danny Green
JET gives up 4 inches to Green, who has been playing well. Green has been shooting 45.7% from beyond the arc and so Jet needs to stay with him on the perimeter.

Keys to the Game
Defense - The Celtics must make defense a priority in this game.
The Spurs are a good offensive team, ranking 11th in the league and averaging 99.9 points per game The Celtics are 17th in scoring, averaging 96.9 points per game. Both teams have slipped a bit on defense with the Spurs allowing and 44% FG%. The Celtics have slipped even more, allowing teams to shoot 45% against them and are giving up 98.1 points per game. The Celtics must lock down the Spurs on defense because chances are, they won't win a shoot out against them.

Focus - With the Spurs in town, the Celtics must keep their focus from the opening tip to the final buzzer. The Spurs are very capable of taking advantage of any lack of focus on the Celtics part. The Celtics need to put in a strong effort for 48 minutes. The Spurs won't let up and neither can the Celtics if they want to win this one.

Neither team has been rebounding the ball as well as they should. The Spurs are 25th in the league with 39.9 rebounds per game. The Celtics are still last with 36.8 rebounds per game. Rebounding is all about effort and desire. The Celtics need to crash the boards as a team and if they put out the effort in this area, it will translate to the rest of their game. The Celtics must find a way to fix their rebounding problems if they want to win a championship this season.

Be Aggressive When the Celtics are aggressive in going after loose balls, taking the ball to the hoop and playing in your face defense, they are very tough to beat. When they get lazy and allow teams to beat them to loose balls and rebounds and when they settle for jumpers and don't go to the basket, they are very beatable. They must stay aggressive and that starts with Rondo. Hopefully he comes out aggressively in this game.

Bench Play
- The second unit must come through for the Celtics. They need quality minutes from Jeff Green and Courtney Lee especially. Both have been inconsistent and they need to come through with a big game in this one. Jared Sullinger, Chris Wilcox and Leandro Barbosa have been more consistent and the Celtics need them to continue to play well.


Focus and Aggressiveness
The Celtics need to come out focused in this one and be the aggressors. If they are tentative and flustered like they were against the Pistons, this could be a very long night.

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