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Celtics visit the Magic looking to go up 2-0 in the season series

The Celtics and Magic meet for the second time in a week with Jameer Nelson returning to play against the team that drafted him.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Boston Celtics (10-15) at Orlando Magic (10-20)
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
7:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #26, Road Game #11
TV: CSNNE, FSFL, NBA-LP 754(DTV), 751(Xfinity)
Radio: WZLX 100.7 FM, ESPN 580 AM
Amway Center

Referees: Danny Crawford, Lauren Holtcamp, Kevin Scott

The Celtics and Magic meet for the second time in a week. However, much has changed for both teams since that 109-92 win by the Celtics on December 17. Rajon Rondo is no longer a Celtic and in his place are Jameer Nelson, who spent his first 10 seasons with the Magic, Jae Crowder and Brandan Wright.

Elfrid Payton is listed to start at the point for the Magic instead of Victor Oladipo, who will move to the shooting guard spot in place of Evan Fournier. Also Kyle O'Quinn is slated to start at power forward in place of Channing Frye who started there in the last game.

With 3 new players to fit into the rotation, Brad Stevens may do some shaking up of the lineups himself. Marcus Smart made his first start in the Celtics last game against the Heat but Jameer Nelson is scheduled to start in this one. It's also possible that Stevens is giving Nelson a try at that spot because Smart is still not back to 100% from his ankle injury. Or maybe he's being showcased for a trade deadline deal.

The Celtics lack of aggression and effort allowed the Heat to end a 5 game home losing streak in their last game. They recently allowed the Knicks to end a 10 game losing streak and now they come into Orlando to face a team that is on a 4 game skid. Hopefully they don't allow another team to break a losing streak in this one.

Aaron Gordon is out for the Magic with a foot injury and Willie Green is questionable with an illness. For the Celtics, Marcus Thornton is still out with a calf injury while James Young was able to go through a full practice on Monday and should be available to play in this one if he has no setbacks.

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard

Jameer Nelson vs Elfrid Payton

Shooting Guard
Avery Bradley vs Victor Oladipo

Small Forward
Jeff Green vs Tobias Harris

Power Forward

Jared Sullinger vs Kyle O'Quinn

Tyler Zeller vs Nikola Vucevic

Celtics Reserves
Phil Pressey
Evan Turner
Brandon Bass
Tyler Zeller
Gerald Wallace
Jameer Nelson
Jae Crowder
Brandan Wright
Marcus Smart

Marcus Thornton (calf) out
James Young (shoulder) probable

Magic Reserves
Ben Gordon
Evan Fournier
Maurice Harkless
Channing Frye
Dewayne Dedmon
Andrew Nicholson
Luke Ridnour
Devyn Marble

Aaron Gordon (foot) out
Willie Green (illness) questionable

Key Matchups
Tyler Zeller vs Nikola Vucevic
Vucevic is averaging 18.3 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. He is an interior defender as well as a force on offense in the paint. Zeller will have his hands full trying to contain him. The Celtics won't have it easy when getting into the paint unless Zeller can move him away from the basket.

Jeff Green vs Tobias Harris
Harris is averaging 18.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists and 1.04 steals per game and has been playing very well. Jeff Green will need to be active on both ends of the court to counter Harris' effectiveness.

Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense wins games pure and simple. Unfortunately this has been where the Celtics have struggled the most, allowing teams to score 104.5 points, which is 3rd worst in the league. They have to 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 Magic from getting second chance points and fast breaks. Rondo was one of the better rebounders on the team and so the Celtics have to all put out extra effort on the boards to make up for him.

Pace and Space - The Celtics must set the pace and run on every possession. It seems that they run to start most games and build a lead or hang with teams but then they slow it down and walk the ball up the court and no longer keep up the pace or the lead. Against the Heat, they never seemed to get going. They have to run and keep up the pace the entire game. They had no fast break points vs the Heat and they have to do better in this game.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics need to be the more aggressive team. They must be the first to loose balls and rebounds, and they have to be aggressive in driving to the basket and not always settling for jumpers. They must be aggressive on defense and set the tone for the game. Their lack of aggression was one of the biggest reasons they lost to the Heat. They have to pick it up in this one.

Effort and Road Game

The Celtics lacked effort against the Heat. Maybe it was getting used to 3 new players and missing Rondo, but they have to shake that off and give a better effort in this game. Once again, the Celtics are on the road where they have struggled. They need to give it their best effort in spite of the hostile environment. There will also be the revenge factor for the Magic so the Celtics will need to put out extra effort to counter that.

Official Report

Danny Crawford

Entering his 30th NBA season, Dan Crawford has officiated 1,926 regular season and 265 Playoff games, including 30 NBA Finals games. During his NBA tenure, Crawford has officiated the 1994 and 2001 NBA All-Star Games, and the 1992 Japan Games in Yokohama. Prior to joining the NBA, Crawford spent four years officiating in the CBA. He has eight years of collegiate officiating experience in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conferences, and he officiated the 1983 and 1984 National Junior College Nationals.

After one of the Celtics playoff games in Chicago in round 1 in 2008, there was some controversy when he was seen leaving the arena with his family all decked out in Chicago Bulls gear (along with Marc Davis and his family). He was in the news last season because he was accused of having a bias against Marc Cuban because the Mavs were 2-16 in games officiated by Crawford two seasons ago and Cuban was very vocal about it. The Celtics are 2-8 in their last 10 games with Crawford on the court while the Magic are 2-0 this season and 4-6 in their last 10 with Crawford. His home win/loss record this season is 12-8.

Lauren Holtcamp
Lauren Holtkamp is entering her first season as a full-time NBA staff official having officiated nine regular season games. Holtkamp has six seasons of NBA D-League experience and worked the 2013 and 2014 NBA D-League Finals. She also officiated four seasons in the WNBA and worked the 2014 conference finals. Additionally, Holtkamp officiated in numerous college conferences, including the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big Ten, Big 12, American, Big East, and the Colonial Athletic Conference. She also officiated various FIBA competitions, including the 2010 World University Games, and the 2012 and 2013 FIBA Americas Championships. The Celtics are 0-1 over her career with Holtcamp while the Magic are 2-2 over her career in the NBA. Her home W/L record this season is 9-8.

Kevin Scott
Kevin Scott enters his fourth NBA season having officiated 154 regular season games. Scott’s experience includes four seasons and 138 games officiated in the NBA D-League where he officiated the playoffs in 2009, 2010, and 2011 and was selected to work the NBA D-League Finals in 2011. Scott’s collegiate experience includes four years in the Southeastern Conference, 10 years in the Atlantic Sun Conference, six years in the Southern Conference, and seven years in the Big South Conference. Scott has also been mostly good in the games he has called for the Celtics. The Celtics are 0-1 this season and 3-7 over their last 10 games with Scott while the Magic are 2-1 this season and also 3-7 in their last 10. His home W/L record this season is 13-6.