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Celtics complete 2 game road trip with a visit to Big Al and the Charlotte Hornets

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The Celtics facilitate a Zeller brothers reunion as they pay a visit to the Charlotte Hornets

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics (7-12) at Charlotte Bobcats (5-15)
Wednesday, December 10, 2014
7:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #20 Road Game #8
TV: CSN-NE, SportSouth, NBA-LP 750(DTV)/751(XFinity)
Radio: 98.5 Sports Hub, WFNZ 610 AM
Time Warner Cable Arena

Referees: Scott Foster, David Guthrie, Derek Richardson

The Celtics continue their 2 game road trip with a visit to Big Al Jefferson and the Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets have struggled somewhat this season, notching just 5 wins, but like the Celtics, they play hard and shouldn't be taken lightly. The Bobcats are 4-7 at home while the Celtics are 2-5 on the road.

This is the first of 4 games between these two teams this season. They will meet on January 5 and February 27 in Boston and then on March 30 once again in Charlotte. The Celtics won the series last season 2 games to 1.

The Bobcats had lost 10 games in a row before beating the Knicks 103-102 on Friday. They have been off since that game and so should be well rested coming into this game. The Celtics had won 3 games in a row for the first time this season before dropping a tough double OT game to the Wizards on Monday.

After missing the past 12 games for the Hornets, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist may be back on the court for them. Marcus Smart's performance against the Wizards shows that he is finally getting back to normal after his ankle injury. Cody and Tyler Zeller will be facing off for the first time as NBA starters.

Rajon Rondo.....Avery Bradley....Jeff Green....Jared Sullinger....Tyler Zeller

Celtics Reserves

Phil Pressey
Evan Turner
Marcus Thornton
Brandon Bass
Dwight Powell
Kelly Olynyk
James Young
Gerald Wallace
Marcus Smart

Vitor Faverani (knee) out

Kemba Walker....Lance Stephenson....Gerald Henderson....Cody Zeller....Al Jefferson

Hornets Reserves
PJ Hairston
Gary Neal
Marvin Williams
Bismack Biyombo
Brian Roberts
Jason Maxiell
Jannero Pargo
Noah Vonleh
Jeff Taylor

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (foot) game time decision

Key Matchups

Rajon Rondo vs Kemba Walker
Rondo sat out much of the second half of the last game while Marcus Smart led the team. He should be ready to play in this one and have plenty to prove. Kemba Walker is averaging 14.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per game and is capable of having a big game at any time if not well defended.

Tyler Zeller vs Al Jefferson
Big Al is averaging 19.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. He has become a beast in the paint and Zeller will need to play him tough in order to keep him from having a huge game.

Honorable Mention
Jared Sullinger vs Cody Zeller
There will be a Zeller on both sides of this game. Cody is averaging 8.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.2 assists. We will probably see Sully on Big Al and Tyler matched up with his brother much of the time just because they matchup up better that way.

Keys to the Game
Run and Set the Pace - The Celtics must run every time down. They can't walk the ball up and settle for a half court game. When they run, they get easy baskets before the defense sets up. They have to do that on every play.

Rebound - The Celtics can't run and they can't score if they don't have the ball. They must crash the boards as a team and put out the extra effort it takes to get the rebounds.

Defense - Defense is always a key to getting a win. The Celtics have to get stops, especially down the stretch. The Hornets average just 94.2 points per game and the Celtics will need to play tough defense to keep them from having a high scoring game in this one.

Be Aggressive - When the Celtics are aggressive going after loose balls, crashing the boards, defending and taking the ball hard to the hoop, they are very tough to beat. They have to be the more aggressive team and they have to be the team that plays harder.

Play 48 Minutes
- The Celtics have to play hard from the opening tip until the final buzzer. Too often they get themselves into a big hole and then have to expend a lot of energy to come back, or they get a big lead and then give it up. They have to play hard for all 48 minutes.

Rust vs Rest and Road Game

The Hornets are coming into this game off of a 1 point win and have been off since Friday. They can either be well rested or rusty. The Celtics are coming into this game off of a tough 1 point loss and played back to back games including double overtimes in the last one. They could be tired or they could be motivated even more to get a win in this game.

The Hornets are at home and could get a boost from their home crowd. On the other hand, young teams like the Celtics often struggle on the road.

Official Report

Scott Foster

A veteran official of 20 NBA seasons, Scott Foster has worked 1,238 regular season and 111 Playoff games, including 12 Finals games during his career. He was a member of the crew that officiated the 1996 Europe Tour in Berlin, Germany and Seville, Spain. In addition to his NBA experience, Foster has two years of CBA officiating experience, two years of collegiate officiating experience in the Southern and Big South conferences and six years of high school officiating experience in Maryland.

Foster came into the public eye as the best friend of former referee Tim Donaghy. In his book, Donaghy describes Foster as a very honest and good guy who knew nothing of his gambling. However, recently Donaghy described Foster as a company man who will do what is asked of him to keep his seniority among refs. Foster was part of the 2010 Finals game 7 officiating crew that called the final quarter completely different than the first 3 quarters and very one sided for the Lakers with 21 free throws for the Lakers and 6 for the Celtics in the final 12 minutes. The Celtics are 3-7 in their last 10 games with Foster while the Hornets are 6-4 in their last 10. His home W/L record this season is 7-9.

David Guthrie
- David Guthrie enters his tenth season after officiating 516 regular season games and 10 playoff games. Prior to joining the NBA, Guthrie was an official in the CBA, NBA D-League and the New York City Pro Am. He participated in the D-League playoffs in 2003, 2004 and 2005 and the D-League championship games in 2004 and 2005. He officiated at the collegiate level in the ACC, SEC, Colonial, Southern, OVC, ASUN, Big South and SWAC conferences and participated in the 2003 and 2004 NCAA tournaments. In the past, Guthrie has been a decent referee, usually letting the teams play rather than over-officiating. The Celtics are 1-0 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games with Guthrie. The Hornets are 3-7 in their last 10 with Guthrie. His home W/L record is 9-7.

Derek Richardson
- Derek Richardson has officiated 995 regular season games and one playoff game, as well as the 2003 NBA Rookie Game in Atlanta, during his 17 seasons as an NBA official. Prior to joining the NBA, Richardson spent eight years officiating in the CBA, including the 1996 CBA All-Star game and two games of the 1996 CBA Finals. Richardson is known for being inconsistent with his calls, especially on charge/block calls. The Celtics are 0-1 this season and 7-3 over their last 10 games with Richardson. The Hornets are 2-8 over their last 10 games with Richardson as a ref. His home W/L record this season is 8-9.