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Celtics host Hornets in a game with playoff implications

Celtics look for 3rd straight win as they host the Charlotte Hornets.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Charlotte Hornets (23-32) at Boston Celtics (22-33)
Friday, February 27, 2015
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #56 Home Game #29
TV: CSN-NE, SportSoutn, NBA-LP 756(DTV)/753(XFinity)
Radio: WZLX 100.7 , WFNZ 610 AM
TD Garden

Refs: David Jones, Eli Roe, Gary Zielinski

The Celtics and Hornets meet for the third of four times this season. Charlotte won the first two meetings 96-87 in Charlotte and 104-95 in Boston. They will meet for the 4th and final time on March 30 in Charlotte.

In their last meeting, Kemba Walker scored 33 points to lead the Hornets and Jared Sullinger led the Celtics with 22 points and 8 rebounds. Both players are injured and will not play in this game. Both teams picked up a point guard at the trade deadline. Charlotte brought in Mo Williams to replace the injured Kemba Walker while the Celtics brought in Isaiah Thomas to add much needed offense.

The Hornets snapped a 5 game losing streak when they beat the Bulls on Wednesday. The Celtics are looking for their 3rd straight win. The Hornets are 10-16 on the road and 4-6 in their last 10 games while the Celtics are 13-15 at home and 6-4 in their last 10 games.

The Hornets are tied with Brooklyn for the 8th and final playoff spot. The Celtics are 1 game behind Charlotte and tied with the Pistons and Pacers for the 9th spot. The Celtics could help their playoff hopes with a win in this game. A win by the Hornets would give them the tie breaker should these two teams end up tied at the end of the season.

Probable Starters
Marcus Smart.....Avery Bradley....Evan Turner....Brandon Bass...Tyler Zeller

Celtics Reserves
Gerald Wallace
Jae Crowder
James Young
Phil Pressey
Shavlik Randolph
Isaiah Thomas
Jonas Jerebko
Gigi Datome

Kelly Olynyk (ankle) day to day
Jared Sullinger (foot) out

Head Coach

Brad Stevens

Probable Starters
Mo Williams....Gerald Henderson....Michael Kidd-Gilchrist....Cody Zeller....Al Jefferson

Hornets Reserves

Marvin Williams
Brian Roberts
Jason Maxiell
Lance Stephenson
Troy Daniels
PJ Hairston
Jeff Taylor
Noah Vonleh


Bismack Biyombo (knee) doubtful
Kemba Walker (knee) out

Head Coach

Steve Clifford

Key Matchups
Tyler Zeller vs Al Jefferson
Big Al always seems to play well against his former team. He is averaging 17.2 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks. It will be important for the Celtics to keep Al off the boards and away from the paint where he is a threat to score. Tyler is 0-6 against his brother Cody and so I'm sure he's going to be motivated to get a win in this one.

PG vs
Marcus Smart vs Mo Williams
With Kemba Walker out, the Hornets made a trade for Mo Williams at the trade deadline. Williams is averaging 12.8 points, 2.4 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game for the year, but he has averaged 21.0 points and 6.7 assists in his 3 games with the Hornets. He has torched the Celtics in the past and Smart will need to play him tough on defense.

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. Charlotte surrenders the fewest offensive rebounds per game at 8.6 per game. The Hornets are 3-24 when out-rebounded by opponents and 19-7 when they win the battle on the boards. The Celtics will need to work harder to beat them to the boards.

Defense - Defense is always a key to getting a win. The Celtics have to get stops, especially down the stretch. The Hornets average just 94.3 points per game but they allow just 96.8 points per game. The Celtics will need to work harder on defense if they want to get the win.

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. Being the more aggressive team will also usually get them more calls from the refs.

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.

Move the Ball but Limit Turnovers
- The Celtics must move the ball and find the open man. They struggle to score when the ball stops moving. At the same time, they have to limit turnovers. They give away way too many points by making careless passes and by losing focus. The Hornets turn the ball over just 11 times a game, which is the fewest in the league. The Celtics have to take care of the ball and keep their turnovers low as well.

Home and the New Guys
The Celtics will be playing their second game of a 3 game home stand. They should get a boost from being at home. They got a boost from the play of Jonas Jerebko and Isaiah Thomas in the last game and hopefully they will get the same production from them in this game.

Official Report

David Jones

David Jones has officiated 1,494 regular season games and 67 playoff games throughout his 25 seasons as an NBA official. In addition, Jones officiated both the men’s and women’s 2000 Olympic Bronze Medal Games. Jones has eight years of collegiate officiating experience in the Southeastern, Trans-American Athletic, Metro and Sunshine State Conferences. In the past, he has been pretty good in calling the games. The Celtics are 1-2 this season and 5-5 in their last 10 games while the Hornets are 2-2 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 with Jones. He is a homer ref with a home W/L record so far this season of 26-16.

Eli Roe

Eli Roe has officiated 499 regular season games during his first nine NBA seasons. Prior to joining the NBA staff, Roe officiated in the CBA, NBA Development League and WNBA. He officiated in the NBA D-League Finals for two years, the D-League playoffs for four years and the WNBA Playoffs for two years. At the collegiate level, Roe refereed in the SEC, ASUN and OVC conferences and numerous Division II and III, NAIA and Juco league games. He also worked in four Division I postseason conference tournaments.

Roe tends to be inconsistent in his calls and can make the calls favor one team over another on any given night. He is also inconsistent with block/charge calls. In Roe's final game with the Celtics last season, a win over the Clippers, Roe made so many bad calls that Tommy yelled "Eli! I hate Eli! I hate him!" Two other games with Roe last season were well officiated. The Celtics are 5-3 this season and 6-4 in their last 10 games with Roe. The Hornets are 4-5 this season and 5-5 in their last 10 games with Roe. This is his first game with both teams this season. Roe's home W/L record this season is 22-18.

Gary Zielinski
Gary Zielinski has officiated 787 regular season games and 11 playoff games. In addition to his 13 seasons in the NBA, Zielinski officiated for seven seasons in the CBA and four in the WNBA. Zielinski worked the CBA Finals from 1997-2000, the CBA All-Star Game in 1995 and the WNBA Finals from 1998-2001. In an incident two seasons ago, Zielinski was accused of cursing at DeMarcus Cousins when giving him a T but nothing ever came of it as far as was reported. The Celtics are 1-1 this season and 5-5 in their last 10 games with the Celtics and the Hornets are 1-1 this season and 4-6 in their last 10. Zielinski is a homer ref with a home W/L record of 30-10 this season.

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