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Celtics host Mavs looking for 4th straight win

The Celtics host the red hot Dallas Mavericks in the first of a back to back set.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Mavericks (30-21) at Boston Celtics (18-33)
Sunday, February 9, 2014
6:00 PM ET
Regular Season Game #52 – Home Game #27
Radio: WBZ, ESPN 103.3 FM
TD Garden
Referees: Tony Brothers, Kevin Cutler, Pat Fraher

Game Thread l Chat

Things get a little tougher for the Celtics as they host Dirk Nowitski and the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs sit in the 8th spot in the West with a 30-21 record. The Mavs have won 4 in a row while the Celtics have won their last 3.

The Celtics 3 wins have come against teams below .500 and now they get a chance to test whether they really have improved to the point where they can beat a good team above .500. This is the Celtics first meeting with the Mavs this season. They will face them again in March on the Mavs home court.

Rondo was feeling better after missing the last game with general soreness but is still a game time decision for this game. I've included him in the starting lineup but we may very well see Phil Pressey get the start again. The Celtics will play again on Monday against the Bucks and so Rondo will more than likely sit out at least one of those games, even if he is feeling great.

Probable Starting Matchups
Point Guard
Rajon Rondo vs Jose Calderon

Shooting Guard

Gerald Wallace vs Monta Ellis

Small Forward
Jeff Green vs Shawn Marion

Power Forward

Brandon Bass vs Dirk Nowitski


Jared Sullinger vs Samuel Dalembert

Celtics Reserves
Kelly Olynyk
Jerryd Bayless
Phil Pressey
Joel Anthony
Chris Johnson
Kris Humphries

Keith Bogans (personal) out
Vitor Faverani (knee) day to day
Avery Bradley (ankle) day to day
Rajon Rondo (general soreness) day to day

Mavericks Reserves
Vince Carter
DeJuan Blair
Brandan Wright
Jae Crowder
Devin Harris
Shane Larkin
Bernard James
Wayne Ellington
Ricky Ledo

Gal Mekel (knee) out
Monta Ellis (hamstring) questionable
Key Matchups
Brandon Bass vs Dirk Nowitski
Dirk Nowitski is getting older, but he doesn't seem to have lost much as he is averaging 21.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. He has a size advantage over Brandon Bass and will be a tough matchup for him.

Jared Sullinger vs Samuel Dalembert
Can Sully have another big night after his monster night against the Kings? Dalembert isn't as tough a matchup as Cousins but maybe it was the competition that made Sully better.

Honorable Mention
Gerald Wallace vs Monta Ellis
Ellis is having a strong year, averaging 19.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 5.8 assists. He is listed as questionable with a hamstring injury and with Bradley's status also up in the air, who knows which shooting guards will actually play?

Keys to the Game
- Rebounding is so crucial to getting a win. When the Celtics put out the effort to grab rebounds, more often than not, that effort extends to other areas of their game. . Rebounding is all in who wants it more and the Celtics have to be the team that wants it more.

Defense - Defense is always crucial to getting a win. Defense wins games is not just a cliche, it is the truth. The Celtics must play tough team defense especially against high scoring teams like the Mavs who average over 104 points per game.

Be Aggressive - The Celtics have to be aggressive in going to the basket and not settle for jumpers. They have to be aggressive on defense and in diving for loose balls. They have to be the team to set the pace. Effort and aggressiveness got them a win over the Kings and they will need the same kind of effort and aggressive play in this one.

Focus - The Celtics have to keep their focus for all 48 minutes. They can't afford a lapse like they have in many games where they turn the ball over and start missing their shots. They can't afford to let up against good teams like the Mavs.

Who is Playing?
If Bradley and Rondo don't play again in this one, it will be tough to win. On the other hand, the Mavs could be without Monta Ellis who is key for them.

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