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Celtics host the Pelicans while looking to end 2 game skid

The Celtics host the Pelicans before heading out for their west coast trip.

Steve Dykes-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Pelicans (14-16) at Boston Celtics (13-19)
Friday, January 3, 2014
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #33 – Home Game #18
TV: CSN-NE, FSNOLA, NBA-LP 755(DTV)/754(Xfinity)
Radio: WBZ, WWL
TD Garden
Referees: Ed Malloy, Mark Ayotte, Ben Taylor

Game Thread l Chat

The Celtics host the Pelicans before heading out for their west coast trip. The Pelicans (or Hornets) have won the last 3 meetings between these two teams.

The Celtics have lost their last 2 games and 5 of their last 6. They have fallen to 3.0 games behind the Raptors for the Atlantic Division lead and are now 1/2 game out of the playoffs behind Chicago who leap frogged them into 8th.

The Pelicans lost their last game and are 4-6 in their last 10 games. The Celtics are 3-7 in their last 10. The Celtics are 8-9 at home while the Pelicans are 5-11 on the road. The Pelicans are in the 10th spot in the west, 4 games out of the playoffs.

After this game, the Celtics head out west for a difficult 5 game road trip. They could really use a win in this game to bring up morale and give them a boost before the trip.

Probable Starters
Point Guard

Jordan Crawford
Shooting Guard

Avery Bradley
Small Forward

Jeff Green
Power Forward


Celtics Reserves
Kris Humphries
Phil Pressey
Courtney Lee
Gerald Wallace
Keith Bogans
Kelly Olynyk
Vitor Faverani

Rajon Rondo (ACL)out

Red Claws
MarShon Brooks

(pretend that banner says Pelicans)
Probable Starters
Point Guard

Jrue Holiday
Shooting Guard

Eric Gordon
Small Forward

Al Farouq Amino
Power Forward

Ryan Anderson

Anthony Davis

Pelicans Reserves
Tyreke Evans
Greg Stiemsma
Brian Roberts
Anthony Morrow
Alexis Ajinca
Austin Rivers
Darius Miller
Jeff Withey

Jason Smith (shoulder) questionable

Key Matchups
Avery Bradley vs Eric Gordon
Gordon is averaging 15.4 points, 3.1 assists and 1.4 steals per game this season. He can put up points quickly if he gets open. Even if he is tired, Avery should be able to contain him, however.

Jared Sullinger vs Anthony Davis
Davis is a handful and will definitely be a tough matchup for Sully. He is averaging 19.2 points, 10.3 rebounds and an impressive 3.2 blocks per game.

Keys to the Game
Play 48 Minutes - The Celtics have got to play all 48 minutes of every game. They play so well at times and then seem to forget how to play at other times. They have to figure out how to stop the lapses and play as a team for the whole game.

Move the Ball - The Celtics must do a better job of moving the ball and finding the open man. They had just 15 assists against the Bulls. They have to stop over dribbling and get back to passing the ball and getting everyone involved.

- The Celtics have to continue to crash the boards as a team. Rebounding takes effort and the Celtics have to show that effort on the boards.

Defense - The Celtics seem to go through offensive droughts at times during games and it is essential that they continue to play tough defense to keep the Pelicans from scoring at will during those droughts.

Run and Go to the Hoop - The Celtics need to run on every possession. They also need to get inside and not settle for outside shots. When the Celtics build leads, they are running and going to the hoop. When they lose leads they stop running and settle for outside shots.

Fatigue and Home
The Celtics are playing in back to back games and so fatigue may become a factor. The Celtics are playing at home, however, and they may get a boost from the home crowd.

Official Report
Ed Malloy

Malloy has officiated 698 regular season NBA games, 32 playoff games and four NBA Finals games, over the past 11 seasons. Prior to joining the NBA, Malloy officiated for one season in the NBA D-League, three seasons in the CBA and three seasons in the WNBA. He worked the 2002 NBA D-League Finals and the 2001 CBA Finals.

Malloy attended St. Joseph’s University before transferring to Philadelphia University, where he was a member of the basketball team and named the ECAC Player of the Year in 1993, and went on to earn a degree in Marketing. While in high school at Cardinal O’Hara, he was named the 1989 Most Outstanding Player in Philadelphia for his achievements on the basketball court.

In 2003, when Doc Rivers was with Orlando, Malloy called a technical foul on Andrew DeClercq for staring. Doc called it one of the worst calls he ever saw (boy has he seen a lot worse since then!)and he said that he felt that Malloy had been intimidated all night. Fast forward to the Celtics game in Utah 3 seasons ago when Malloy, no longer intimidated, called 2 quick technicals on Doc and ejected him. Here is Doc's version of those calls.

"I just told Ed [Malloy], please keep officiating the game," said Rivers. "That’s all I said. I thought the play before [the technical] was a clear travel in front of him. So I just said, ‘Hey Ed, it’d be nice if you’d keep officiating throughout.’ He gave me a tech. Then I said, ‘That’s the best call you’ve made all night.’ Usually, it’s nice to earn them, but [Monday's technicals were] another bad call."
Malloy was also on the crew that officiated game 1 of the Miami series in the 2010 playoffs where 5 technicals were called and Kevin Garnett was ejected. He also officiated game 1 of the Heat series in 2011. In that game, after ignoring a flagrant foul by James Jones and then a second flagrant foul by Dwyane Wade, Malloy ejected Pierce for technicals when he objected to both flagrants against him in less than a minute. Two seasons ago he called game 2 vs the Hawks in the playoffs. The Celtics shot 31 free throws in that game vs 20 for the Hawks and got the benefit of most close calls. He also called game 5 in the Philly series in which the Celtics shot 33 free throws to 16 for the Sixers and again the Celtics got the benefit of close calls.

The Celtics are 1-1 this season and 3-7 in their last 10 games with Malloy as an official. The first regular season game last season, after a loss to Brooklyn in the preseason, was the win over the Lakers at home where the Celtics shot 25 free throws to 30 for the Lakers and the officiating wasn't all that bad. The second game was the loss on the road to the Bobcats where the Celtics took 25 free throws to 30 for the Bobcats and the officiating was ok. Another game last season was the loss at Dallas where the Mavericks took 28 free throws to 27 for the Celtics and the officiating was okay. The most recent regular season loss was to the Raptors where Toronto took 28 free throws to 13 for the Celtics and there were more than a few questionable calls against the Celtics. He can be good and he can be very very bad on any given night. He also called game 6 of the Knicks series in last season's playoffs. The Celtics took 33 free throws to 16 for the Knicks and got the benefit of a few questionable calls.

The win this season was over the Magic where Orlando took 23 free throws to 15 for the Celtics but the officiating was good and they pretty much let them play. He also called the loss to the Spurs and the officiating was good. The Pelicans are 1-1 this season and 1-9 over their last 10 games with Malloy. His home W/L record is 14-12.

Mark Ayotte
Mark Ayotte completed his ninth NBA season having officiated 532 regular season games. Prior to joining the NBA, Ayotte was a WNBA official for four years and a CBA official for three years. He spent one year officiating in the NBA D-League.

Ayotte has 12 years of collegiate officiating experience, having worked in the Pac-10, Big Sky and West Coast conferences. He officiated in the Pac-10 Conference Tournament and the Big Sky Conference Tournament, including the finals. Ayotte also was an official for the preseason and postseason NIT.

He has 10 years of high school officiating experience in the state of Arizona. Prior to becoming a professional basketball referee, Ayotte worked as a Systems Design and Test Engineer with AG Communication Systems. When not on the hardwood, Ayotte enjoys spending time with his fellow Yoopers in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The Celtics are 1-1 and 3-7 over their last 10 games with Ayotte. Last season, he called a win over the Nets in the preseason and a loss at Detroit and the officiating was ok in both. He also called the loss to the Lakers in LA where they took 31 free throws to 20 for the Celtics and most of the questionable fouls went LA's way. He called the win over Orlando and the loss to the Spurs this season, both along with Malloy. The Pelicans are 0-1 this season and 1-9 over their last 10 with Ayotte. Ayotte was one of the refs in the Mavs/OKC game last season in which Marc Cuban was fined $75,000 for criticizing the referees as among the worst he has seen. Ayotte has a home W/L record this season of 14-8.

Ben Taylor

Ben Taylor is one of two new officials for the 2013-14 season. Taylor joins the full-time staff after six seasons as a referee in the NBA D-League, already having offciated 17 regular season NBA games as a non-staff official. He also serves as an FIBA International Basketball Referee.

While at Middle Tennessee State University, where he received a BA in Public Relations, Taylor was a member of the Theta Iota Chapter of Sigma Nu Fraternity, where he coordinated many events, headlined by the Multiple Sclerosis Society’s "Bike to Jack and Back" as the Philanthropic chair.

Taylor has officiated three games for the Celtics previously. They are 1-2 in those games. The win was over Toronto where the Raptors took 36 free throws to 34 for the Celtics. One loss was to Detroit where the Celtics took 32 free throws to 29 for the Pistons. He also called a loss to the Bucks where the officiating was again even. He has called seven games for the Pelicans in which they are 3-4. His home W/L record this season is 12-8.

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