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Celtics host Sixers in a game they really need to win

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The Celtics host the Sixers for the second meeting this season in a game they pretty much need to win to avoid being the Sixers first (and maybe only) win this season.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

at
Philadelphia 76ers (0-15) at Boston Celtics (7-7)
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
7:30 PM ET
Game #15 Home Game #9
TV: CSNNE, CSN PHI, NBA-LP 753(xfinity)/754(DTV)
Radio: Sports Hub 98.5, Fanatic 97.5
TD Garden

Referees: Sean Corbin, Nick Buchert, Eric Dalen


The Sixers visit the Celtics for the second time this season. They met on opening night when the Celtics got a 112-95 win. It goes without saying that this is a must win game for the Celtics. No team wants to be the first (and maybe only) team that the Sixers beat this season.

The Celtics are playing in the second of back to back games after a very lackluster game in Atlanta on Tuesday night. The Celtics are 1-1 on the second night of back to backs. They won both games in their last back to back set in Oklahoma City and Houston. Last season they prided themselves in being able to win back to back games. Let's hope some of that carries over to this season.

The Celtics are once again without Marcus Smart. Although in his absence, they seem to have forgotten how to play defense, one of their strengths is their depth and they have to close ranks and find a way to play well without him. The Sixers are without Embiid, Landry, Marshall, and Wroten. They are in better shape than they were in the first meeting when they had just 10 players and Nick Stauskas was just returning from an injury that kept him out of the preseason.

Phil Pressey will make his return to the Garden with the Sixers. Although he wasn't a star with the Celtics, he did everything that was asked of him and was always ready when he was called upon. But with Isaiah on the team, I guess they had their quota of 5 foot something guards. He should get a warm welcome from the crowd, though.



Probable Starters

PG Isaiah Thomas....... SG: Avery Bradley

C: Jared Sullinger

SF: Jae Crowder .............. PF: Amir Johnson

Celtics Reserves

Evan Turner
RJ Hunter
Jonas Jerebko
Tyler Zeller
Jordan Mickey
Terry Rozier
James Young
David Lee
Kelly Olynyk

Head Coach

Brad Stevens

Injuries
Marcus Smart (leg) out



Probable Starters

PG: TJ McConnell................. SG: Nik Stauskas

C: Jahlil Okafor

SF: Jerami Grant .............. PF: Nerlens Noel

Sixers Reserves
Isaiah Canaan
Richuan Holmes
Christian Wood
Hollis Thompson
JaKarr Sampson
Robert Covington

Head Coach
Brett Brown

Injuries
Tony Wroten (knee) out
Carl Landry (wrist) out
Joel Embiid (foot) out
Kendall Marshall (ACL) out

Key Matchups
vs
and
vs
Amir Johnson vs Nerlens Noel and Jared Sullinger vs Jahlil Okafor
The Sixers strength is in their young center and power forward. Noel led all rookies in rebounding (8.1), steals (1.77) and blocks (1.89) last season. The only other rookie to average more than 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals was David Robinson. He is averaging 10.7 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 1.0 block per game. He could be a tough matchup for the Celtics. Jahlil Okafor was the 3rd pick in this year's draft and is athletic and talented and will also test the Celtics interior defense, which was pretty much non existent against the Hawks. Okafor is averaging 18.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game.

Keys to the Game
Defense - The Celtics have been building their identity around a tough defense. With Smart out the past couple of games, they have struggled defensively. They allowed the Nets to shoot 50.6% from the field and 33.3% from beyond the arc and then allowed the Hawks to shoot 56.2% from the field and 50% from beyond the arc. They have to somehow figure out how to play tough team defense without Smart in the lineup. Defense wins games.

Be Aggressive
- The Celtics have to be the more aggressive team and go after all the loose balls, and aggressively go after rebounds, and be aggressive on defense. They also have to be aggressive in taking the ball into the paint. The more aggressive team will usually get the benefit of the whistles. They have been on their heels in the past two games and need to come out with an aggressive mindset in this game.

Move the Ball - The Celtics have shown beautiful ball movement at times and they have been able to make the extra pass and find the open man. But over the last two games their assist levels have dropped and they have been playing more one on one and taking quick shots. Hero ball rarely wins games.

Run- The Celtics need to use their depth to run on every possession. They can get easy baskets if they beat their opponents up the floor. They can also set their defense if they can beat opponents back on the other end.

Focus - The Celtics need to make their shots. It is a mystery how a team can shoot 58% in one game and then be unable to hit a shot in the next game. They need to get their focus back and take good shots and somehow find their offense once again. Part of that is to play team ball and not try to win the game individually.

X-Factors
Pride
- The Celtics looked very unhappy after their second beat down in a row. Brad Stevens was definitely not happy with his team after the loss to the Hawks. They have to dig down and find that Celtics pride and play as a team and not allow themselves to be the first team to lose to the Sixers.

Officiating - The officiating can always be an x-factor since just like Forest Gumps chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.

Official Report
Sean Corbin

The 20-year NBA referee has officiated 1,182 regular season NBA games and 57 Playoff games, along with the 2007 NBA All-Star Game, 1999 Japan Games in Tokyo and the 1996 Schick Rookie Game. Corbin spent the summer of 2004 officiating basketball at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Corbin’s resume includes four years officiating in the CBA and nine years of collegiate officiating experience in the Big East, Southern, Southeastern, Mid-Eastern Athletic and Metro Atlantic Athletic Conferences. He also has four years of high school basketball officiating experience.

Corbin has been good in most of his games with the Celtics without any bad games standing out until last season. In the game vs the Pacers, there were a lot of terrible calls down the stretch including an out of bounds call that was obviously wrong and pretty much gave the game to Indiana. Other than that, he's been decent. Both teams are 2-8 in their last 10 games with Corbin. Corbin is a homer ref with a home W/L record so far this season of 7-4. Last season he had almost twice as many home wins as road wins in his record.

Nick BuchertNick Buchert enters his sixth NBA season having officiated 282 games. Buchert owns nine years of collegiate officiating experience. Additionally, he has officiated the 2010 NBA D-League Finals and 2010 NBA D-League All-Star Game. There's not much controversy about Buchert and he has been decent in his games with the Celtics. The Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10 games with Buchert while the Sixers are 4-6 in their last 10. His home W/L record is 6-3.

Eric Dalen
Eric Dalen officiated 367regular season games in his first seven NBA seasons. Prior to the NBA, Dalen worked for five seasons in the NBA D-League and officiated the 2008 All-Star Game and Finals. He also officiated for three
years in the Southeastern Conference. Dalen was a two-year letter winner at the University of Minnesota where he played tight end for the football team.

I couldn't find much controversy on the guy other than an article where Andrew Bynum was complaining about Dalen calling all 6 fouls on him in a game in 2008. Some games he has called for the Celtics have been evenly called and well officiated while others have been terrible with bad and no calls and one sided officiating. In a game vs Detroit last season, the Celtics shot 34 free throws to 10 for the Pistons and the Celtics got the benefit of most of the questionable calls. He may be good or he may be bad depending on the other refs and the game. The Celtics are 0-1 this season (the loss at Indiana) and 3-7 in their last 10 games with Dalen. The Sixers are 1-9 in their last 10. His home W/L record this season is 4-4.