New Orleans Pelicans (14-23) at Boston Celtics (22-14)
Saturday, January 7, 2017
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #37 – Home Game #17
TV: CSN-NE, FSNO, NBA-LP 753(DTV)/753(Xfinity)
Radio: 100.7 WZLX , WRNO 99.5
Referees: James Williams, Marat Kogut, Karl Lane
The Celtics complete their 4 game home stand with the only visit from Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans. The Celtics lost 106-105 to the Pelicans when they played them on the road back in November. In that game, they were missing both Jae Crowder and Al Horford in that game.
The Celtics are playing in a rare back to back set with both games at home. The last time that they played in home and home back to back games was February 5th and 6th way back in 1999. The Celtics are 4-3 overall in the second game of back to back sets and they are 1-1 when the second game is at home.
The Celtics are looking for their 4th straight win while the Pelicans are looking to snap a 2 game losing streak after having won their previous 4 games. The Pelicans are 5-5 in their last 10 games while the Celtics are 8-2 in their last 10. The Celtics are 10-6 at home while the Pelicans are 4-12 on the road. The Pelicans are rested while the Celtics are playing in back to back games.
Tyler Zeller has been out with an illness and is a game time decision for this game as is James Young, who has been out with an ankle injury. For the Pelicans, Quincy Pondexter (knee) is out. Donatas Motiejunas has not played in 8 months after a contract dispute with the Rockets and was finally released by them and signed by the Pelicans. He is listed as a game time decision as to whether he is ready to play.
James Young (ankle) game time decision
Tyler Zeller (illness) game time decision
Quincy Pondexter (knee) out
Donatas Motiejunas (conditioning) game time decision
Amir Johnson vs Anthony Davis
Davis is dominant and is averaging 28.6 points, 12.0 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game. Amir has been playing very well defensively and if he just keeps Davis to his average, it would give the Celtics a chance to get a win.
Isaiah Thomas vs Jrue Holiday
Holiday missed the first game between these two teams and former Red Claws point guard Tim Frazier started and played well. Holiday is playing well, averaging 14.5 points, 7.2 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.2 steals. Isaiah has been on a roll and needs to continue his strong play to give the Celtics the better of this matchup.
Keys to the Game
Defense - Defense will always be the key to winning. The Celtics have got to play tough defense and get stops if they want to win this game. The Pelicans average 102.1 points per game and the Celtics will need to limit their scoring. The Celtics have recently showed signs of getting back to their gritty play and hopefully they will continue that in this game. The Celtics defense wasn't very good in the first half vs the Sixers, but they played much better in the second half. They have to play strong defense from start to finish.
Rebound - The Celtics have to crash the boards as a team. Rebounding takes effort and the Celtics have to show that effort on the boards. When they put that extra effort out to dominate the boards, it often translates to all other areas of the game as well. The Pelicans are a good rebounding team so the Celtics will need to work hard to beat them to rebounds.
Be Aggressive - The Celtics have got to be aggressive in going to the basket, playing defense, diving for loose balls and just playing harder. They let the Sixers play harder than them in the first half on Friday, but they came out more aggressive in the second half. Their effort and aggressiveness can make them very tough to beat.
Set the Pace - The Pelicans don't score well in transition and are bottom 6 in the league in points per transition possession. The Celtics need to push the pace and make the Pelicans have to play at a quicker pace. Even though the Celtics are playing back to back, they are deep enough to be able to push the pace in this game.
Back to Back - The Celtics are playing on the second night of back to back games. With both games being at home, they are able to avoid the fatigue of travel, but still need to dig down for the energy to finish the game strong. Last season they prided themselves on winning back to back games and hopefully they can find that resolve once again this season.
Revenge - The Pelicans beat the Celtics by one point when these two teams played back in November. Even though they were missing two key players in that game, they felt that they should have won it. They need to use avenging that loss as extra motivation to win this game.
Officiating - Officiating will always be an x-factor. Some crews call every little bit of contact that takes the flow out of the game. Some crews let them play. Some refs have an agenda against a team, a coach or a player. All of these things can alter the way a game is played and the ability of a team to play well.