Los Angeles Lakers (5-14) at Boston Celtics (5-11)
Friday, December 5, 2014
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #17, Home Game #11
TV: CSNNE, TWC Sportsnet, NBA-LP 755(DTV), 755(Xfinity)
98.5 Sports Hub, 710 AM ESPN
Referees: Bill Kennedy, Matt Boland, Kane Fitzgerald
Although this matchup has lost some of the luster of the Lakers/Celtics rivalry of old, there is still something special about a game between these two storied franchises. Both teams have fallen on tough times and are in the midst of a rebuild but it's still Lakers vs Celtics and there is still Kobe to deal with.
The Celtics are 3-7 at home while the Lakers are 3-6 on the road. The Celtics are 2-8 in their last 10 games and are coming off an OT win over the Pistons. The Lakers are 4-6 in their last 10 and coming off a loss to the Wizards. But, if there is one game that both teams circle on their calendar, it is this one.
Last season, the Lakers won the series 2-0. The last time these two teams met at the Garden was January 17, 2014. In case you forgot, that was the game in which Rajon Rondo made his return from the ACL injury. However, the Lakers spoiled his return with a 107-104 win. It's time for the Celtics to get payback and Beat LA!!!!!!!
Point Guard: Rajon Rondo ---------------- Shooting Guard: Avery Bradley
Center: Tyler Zeller
Small Forward: Jeff Green ------------------ Power Forward: Jared Sullinger
Vitor Faverani (knee) out
Point Guard: Jeremy Lin -------------------- Shooting Guard: Kobe Bryant
Center: Jordan Hill
Small Forward: Wesley Johnson -------------------- Power Forward: Carlos Boozer
Xavier Henry (Achilles) out
Ryan Kelly (hamstring) out
Steve Nash (Sciatic) out
Julius Randle (tibia) out
Avery Bradley vs Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant leads the Lakers with 26 points, 3.6 rebounds and 4.9 assists. Slowing the Lakers offense will have to include slowing Kobe Bryant and that task will fall to Avery Bradley. If he is up to the task, it would give the Celtics a better chance of winning.
Hill is averaging 13.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. It will be key to keep him out of the paint and from scoring easy baskets at the hoop.
Rajon Rondo vs Jeremy Lin
We are a long way from the Linsanity that took over New York a few years ago, but Lin is still a good point guard. He is averaging 11.8 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 5.1 assists a game. Rondo said after the last game that he hasn't been himself and this would be a good time to get back to dominating matchups.
Keys to the Game
Push the Ball - The Celtics have had success when they push the ball up the court quickly before the defense can get set. With the Lakers being short handed, it will be even more important to run and push the tempo.
Rebound - The Celtics have to crash the boards as a team to give themselves more possessions as well as to prevent the Lakers from getting second chance points.
Be Aggressive - The Celtics must be the more aggressive team. They have to be aggressive in going to the basket, in diving for loose balls, and on defense. They have to be the team that wants it more.
Focus for 48 Minutes - The Celtics still struggle with lapses. Even against the Pistons they gave up a lead but managed to hold on to win. They have to keep their focus for all 48 minutes and figure out how to avoid those lapses.
Defense - Offense often feeds off of the defense and defense wins games. The Celtics must play tough, physical team defense if they want to win this game.
Home and Pride
The Celtics are at home and should get a boost from the home crowd. Even though this rivalry isn't what it once was, there is still Celtics Pride and they need to draw on that to give them a boost to get this win. Beat LA!!!!!!!!
Bill Kennedy - Bill Kennedy’s 16 seasons of NBA officiating experience include 990 regular season, 63 playoff and five NBA Final games. In addition to his NBA experience, Kennedy has five years of officiating experience in the CBA, including working the 1996 and 1997 CBA Finals. He also officiated two games in the WNBA Finals in 1998 and has 15 years of high school officiating experience in Arizona. Celtics fans will remember Kennedy's run in with Doc Rivers that resulted in both of them being fined. Yes, David Stern fined one of his precious refs and certainly, Kennedy hasn't forgotten. Here is how Doc described the incident:
"[Kennedy] stood there and goaded me and goaded me and goaded me and stared at me," Rivers said. "Look at the film. I actually walked away. He asked me, 'Where do you want the ball?' And I said, 'Ask them,' talking about our players. That's my right to say that, and I walked away. He stood there and stared me down and stared me down and goaded me until I turned around and said, 'What?' That's when I got thrown out of the game."Doc was fined for criticizing a referee, but since the league fined Kennedy, they as much as admitted that Doc's criticism was deserved. Go figure. According to Tim Donaghy, Bill Kennedy is gay and his beef with Doc stems from Doc questioning his sexual orientation. With Doc out in LA, that should be in the past. He may even feel a certain kinship with the Celtics with both of them being dissed by Doc. The Celtics are 0-1 this season and 8-2 in their last 10 games with Kennedy while the Lakers are 1-1 this season and 3-7 in their last 10. Kennedy's home W/L record this season is 6-8.
Matt Boland - Entering his 13th season as an NBA official, Matt Boland has worked 653 regular season games. Prior to joining the NBA, he spent seven years officiating in the CBA, including the 1999, 2000 and 2001 CBA Finals. He also
officiated for five years in the WNBA and worked the 2002 and 2003 WNBA Finals, as well as two years in the NBA D-League, working the 2003 Finals. Boland also has five years of USBL officiating experience, including the 1997 USBL Finals. Boland officiated at the collegiate level for four years, working in the MAAC, Ivy, Northeast, TAAC and OVC Conferences. He also has high school officiating experience in his home state of Connecticut and worked two State Finals games in 1997 and 1998. Boland, along with Scott Foster, was questioned by the FBI in regard to the Tim Donaghy case after it was found that Donaghy often phoned Boland on game days. The FBI cleared both Boland and Foster of involvement in that betting scandal, but that doesn't mean much. The Celtics are 1-0 this season and 8-2 over their last 10 games with Boland while The Lakers are 5-5 in their last 10. Boland's home W/L record this season is 5-7.
Kane Fitzgerald - Fitzgerald has officiated 313 games in his five seasons as an NBA official. Fitzgerald started refereeing at the age of 18 at the high school level in New Jersey. Prior to the NBA, he had professional experience in the NBA D-League for four years and the WNBA for two years. He also refereed NCAA Division I basketball in the Ohio Valley, Atlantic Sun and Big South Conferences for two years. You may remember Fitzgerald from 4 seasons ago when he gave KG a very quick pair of technicals (from about 30 feet away) and tossed him in the 2nd quarter of the Celtics 104-101 win over the Knicks (in which Amare scored 30). In another outing that season with the Celtics, the loss to the Bobcats in Charlotte, he tossed Stephen Jackson after 2 quick questionable T's. His quickness in giving technicals dates back to his days in the D-league where he was close to the top in calling technical fouls there as well.
You may also recall him for calling the Nets game that resulted in the brawl. Fitzgerald gave Doc a T for yelling instructions to Rondo. They let the Nets get away with pushing and shoving and hard fouls the entire first half. The Nets shot 17 free throws to 5 for the Celtics in the first half and 3 of those free throws were on technicals. They did better in the second half after the brawl, but the refs' failure to call the game evenly in the first half led to frustrations and the fight. The Celtics are 1-0 this season (first game in the preseason) and 2-8 in their last 10 games with Fitzgerald. The Lakers are 0-2 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 with Fitzgerald calling the game. His home W/L record this season is 8-6.