Boston Celtics (13-21) at Denver Nuggets (16-17)
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
9:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #35 Road Game #17
TV: CSNNE, Altitude, NBA-LP 765(DTV), 755(Xfinity)
Radio: WZLX, 950AM
The Celtics continue their road trip as they visit the Denver Nuggets. The Celtics won their first meeting with the Nuggets this season 106-98 in Boston. Denver has won 8 or their last 9 games against the Celtics in Denver, however.
In their first meeting, the Celtics jumped out to a 20 point lead at the half with the Nuggets roaring back to come to within 3 in the 3rd quarter. Ty Lawson, who led the Nuggets with 20 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists left the game in the 3rd with a hamstring injury and the Celtics hung on to win.
These teams have been pretty evenly matched in recent years, with each team winning 11 games since the 02-03 season. The Celtics are 5-11 on the road and 3-7 in their last 10 games. The Nuggets are8-8 at home and 2-8 in their last 10 games. The Celtics have lost their last 4 games while the Nuggets are on a 2 game win streak.
The trade sending Courtney Lee to Memphis for Jerryd Bayless is complete. Bayless is in Denver but it's unclear whether he will be available and suited up for tonight's game. Ryan Gomes also was traded from OKC to the Celtics but reports are that he was immediately waived.
Probable Starting Matchups
Jordan Crawford vs Ty Lawson
Avery Bradley vs Randy Foye
Jeff Green vs Wilson Chandler
Brandon Bass vs Kenneth Faried
Jared Sullinger vs JJ Hickson
Rajon Rondo (ACL)out
Kris Humphries (ankle) day to day
Danilo Gallinari (knee) out
JaVale McGee (leg) out
Brandon Bass vs Kenneth Faried
Faried is quick and athletic and very much fun to watch. Brandon Bass will have his hands full trying to stay with him. Faried is averaging 10.0 points and 7.7 rebounds per game and has a motor that just doesn't quit.
For once, Sully won't be at a big height disadvantage against the 6'9" Hickson, who is averaging 11.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Hickson scored 17 points and pulled down 7 rebounds in their first meeting.
Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense is the key to winning every game. Against the Nuggets, transition defense is especially important because the Nuggets will run them out of the building if they don't find a way to get stops. The Celtics will definitely need to defend better than they did against the Thunder.
Go to the Hoop- The Celtics need to get the ball inside and not settle for outside shots, especially if they aren't falling. When they get into the paint, good things happen.
Run! - We know that the Nuggets will run and the Celtics also need to run to keep pace with them. The Celtics are much better when they push the ball and run and get their shots before the defense can set up.
Play 48 Minutes - The Celtics are still struggling with playing for the entire 48 minutes. They have to find a way to stop the lapses that they have had in almost every game recently.
Distractions and Thin Air
The Celtics have to play their game and shut out all the trade rumors and the fact that they just lost one of their teammates and will have to incorporate a new teammate. They need to concentrate on the game at hand and not on the outside distractions.
The Nuggets have a home court advantage in that they are used to the thin air in Denver while visiting teams are not. Hopefully it won't affect the Celtics too much.