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Celtics look to get back on track against winless Sixers (and hope not to be their first win)

The Celtics are hoping that a game against the ever tanking Sixers will cure what ails them.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics (3-6) at Philadelphia 76ers (0-10)
Regular Season Game #10, Road Game #4
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
7:00 PM ET
TV: CSNNE, CSN-PHI, NBA-LP 754(DTV)/751 (Xfinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, 97.5 The Fanatic
Wells Fargo Center

Referees: Marc Davis, Steve Anderson, Josh Tiven

If any team can get the Celtics back on track, it would have to be the winless Sixers who have taken tanking to a whole new level. Nevertheless, last season, when they were also tanking, they were able to beat the Celtics 3 out of 4 times. To put it into perspective, the Sixers had 7 wins in their final 59 games last season and 3 of those 7 came at the expense of the Celtics. Hopefully the Celtics won't be overconfident because of the Sixers' record and underestimate them.

The Sixers have come close to getting their first win in their last two home games, losing them by a combined 5 points. They lost to the Magic by 2 points and the Bulls by 3 in their last two home games. They were also just one point shy of a win against the Rockets on the road. So, the Celtics can't take a win here for granted.

In spite of starting the season with a strong defense, the Celtics defense has been problematic for them in their recent losses. They are allowing teams to score 109.4 (3rd in the league on 48.3 percent shooting (4th) They are even worse than the 76ers, who are allowing 105.4 points (6th) and 46.4% (8th). So, as bad as the Sixers have been, they are better on defense than the Celtics.

The Sixers, however, have been dismal on offense, averaging a league worst 88.5 points per game. In spite of their defensive struggles, the Celtics are averaging 107.4 points per game, which ranks them 3rd in the league.

This will be the third meeting for these two teams this season. The Celtics beat the Sixers 111-91 and 98-78 in two games in the preseason. They will meet 3 more times this season after this game.

Probable Starters

PG Rajon Rondo....... SG: Avery Bradley

C: Kelly Olynyk

SG: Jeff Green ....... PF: Jared Sullinger

Celtics Reserves
Phil Pressey
Evan Turner
Marcus Thornton
Brandon Bass
Dwight Powell
Tyler Zeller
James Young
Gerald Wallace

Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Marcus Smart (ankle) out

Probable Starters

PG: Tony Wroten ................... SG: Hollis Thompson

C: Henry Sims

SG: Luc Mbah a Moute ........... PF: Nerlens Noel

Sixers Reserves

Michael Carter Williams
Alexy Shved
KJ McDaniels
Robert Covington
JaKarr Sampson
Drew Gordon
Jerami Grant


Joel Embiid (foot) out
Jerami Grant (ankle) out
Jason Richardson (knee) out

Key Matchups
Rajon Rondo vs Tony Wroten
Wroten is averaging 19.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Rondo will be looking to bounce back with a good game after struggling down the stretch of his past two games. This should be a good matchup.

Evan Turner vs Michael Carter Williams
Last year's rookie of the year is coming off the bench for Philly after missing the first 6 games due to shoulder surgery. He is averaging 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 4.7 assists. He will more than likely be matched up with Evan Turner off of the Celtics bench.

Keys to the Game

Take Care of the Ball - The Celtics have gone through periods where they turn the ball over several times in a row. They had a very costly turnover that may have cost them the game in their last loss. They are averaging 15 turnovers a game, which is too many. The Sixers lead the league in steals per game with 9.8 per game and so they have to focus on their passes and ball handling or the Sixers will make them pay.

Defense - Defense is key to winning. Defense wins games pure and simple. Unfortunately this has been where the Celtics have struggled the most, allowing teams to score 109.4 points, which is 3rd worst in the league. They have to somehow figure out a way to get stops, especially late in games.

Rebound - The Celtics have to crash the boards in order to give themselves extra possessions as well as to prevent the Sixers from getting second chance points and fast breaks.

Play 48 Minutes - The Celtics have had lapses in each of their losses. They have either fallen behind and then had to catch up or got off to a big lead and then let up and lost it. They have to focus and play hard from the opening tip until the final buzzer with no let up!


Road Game and Overconfidence
The Celtics will be on the road and as stated above, the Sixers have come very close to winning their last two home games. If the Celtics come in overconfident and take the Sixers for granted they could come away with a 4 game losing streak.

Official Report
Marc Davis
- Marc Davis, an avid outdoorsman, has been an NBA official for the past 16 seasons, working 977 regular season games, 55 Playoff games, and the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. Davis has officiated four Finals games during
his career. In addition to his NBA experience, Davis has three years of CBA officiating experience and three years of collegiate basketball officiating experience in the OVC and TAAC Junior Colleges. He grew up in Chicago and is still active in the Chicago area.

Davis was investigated for threatening to whoop Allen Iverson's a** when AI complained about a call in a game in 2005, but was not suspended for it. The Celtics history with Davis goes way back also. In 2009, Davis was seen after a Celtics/Bulls game with his family all decked out in Bulls gear. Can a Bulls fan honestly call a Celtics game without any bias, especially one against the Bulls?

In a win against the Hawks three seasons ago with Davis, the officiating was terrible. The Hawks shot 23 free throws to 13 for the Celtics. KG fouled out in that game on a terrible call. They were holding his jersey and had an elbow in his back and they called the foul on KG. Greg Stiemsma fouled out shortly after on two more terrible calls. In the 4th quarter, 12 fouls were called on the Celtics and only 4 on the Hawks. In OT, 4 fouls were called on the Celtics while none were called on the Hawks, even through there were several very obvious fouls committed. Donny Marshall usually doesn't comment on the officiating but said that the Celtics needed to send the tape of that game to the league because Davis made it all about him. Davis also called Game 1 of the Hawks playoff series three seasons ago. There were missed and bad calls the entire game. At one point, the ref at half court called an obvious foul on the Hawks when Davis, right next to the play, failed to call it. The frustration over the lack of calls boiled over and resulted in Rondo bumping Davis and being ejected and suspended.

In a game two seasons ago against the Bulls, the officiating was terrible. With 12 seconds left, Pierce was trapped and fouled, including a busted lip, right in front of Davis with no call. Rondo was signalling for a time out right in Davis' face but they called a jump ball instead of calling the foul or the time out. Even Hubie Brown was talking about how bad the calls were the entire game and Hubie doesn't usually comment on the officiating. Last season, in a game against the Kings, Davis even got to the mild mannered Brad Stevens. Davis ignored obvious pushing and shoving by DeMarcus Cousins all night. At one point, Gerald Wallace pointed out an obvious fould by Cousins and was tossed to which Stevens pointed out that he could have thrown out Cousins all game and was tossed.

The Celtics are 2-8 in their last 10 games with Davis while the Sixers are 5-5 in their last 10 with Davis. Think about that. They have won 7 of their last 69 games and 5 of those wins were with Davis as a referee. His home W/L record this season is 4-6.

Steve Anderson
- Steve Anderson enters his second NBA season having officiated 45 regular season games. He joined the full-time staff in 2013-14 after six seasons as a referee in the NBA D-League and already having officiated 18 regular season NBA games as a non-staff official. Anderson officiated the FIBA U19 World Championships in the Czech Republic in 2013. The Celtics are 1-4 over Anderson's career while the Sixers are 2-7. His home W/L record is 4-3.

Josh Tiven - Joshua Tiven is entering his fifth NBA season having officiated 227 NBA games and one playoff game.
Tiven has seven years of NCAA officiating experience, as well as two years of WNBA officiating experience and two seasons of WNBA Playoff experience. He also has worked three NBA D-League Finals, as well as the 2007-08 NBA D-League All-Star Game. Tiven lives in Connecticut and he has a twin brother who is a big Celtics fan and who has been shown in the crowd at the Garden when Tiven was officiating. Both teams are 6-4 in their last 10 games with Tiven. The Celtics are 1-0 this season with Tiven, who called the opening night win over the Nets. His home W/L record this season is 5-3.The Celtics are hoping that a game against the ever tanking Sixers will cure what ails them.

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