The Boston Celtics return to the TD Garden after logging the largest winning margin in franchise history, a 56 point blowout win against the Chicago Bulls on Saturday (8th of December). They also return home an injured squad, the current list of players unavailable for the matchup against NOLA is extensive, you can read about it here. Expect Brad Stevens to utilise the full depth of the squad tonight as our 2nd and 3rd stringers will all see extended time. Two-way players Robert Williams and PJ Dozier have been recalled from Maine to fill out the bench.
The previous encounter in New Orleans at the Smoothie Center was a significant turning point for the Celtics this season. We saw the highest point total and biggest point differential at the Smoothie Center as the crisp passing and decisive ball movement were back. Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry, has made quite a few changes to his lineup since then, as both Solomon Hill and Tim Frazier enter the starting lineup.
New Orleans come into tonight off a good win against the Pistons in Detroit, the first night of this back-to-back. Jrue Holiday had a brilliant game last night, his best of the season, as the PG scored 37 Pts (14-22 FG, 6-10 3PT). Anthony Davis only played limited minutes with a hip injury tallying just 6 pts & 9 reb, Davis questionable, will suit up for the game tonight whilst E’Twaun Moore is ruled out.
Jrue couldn’t get it going previously against the C’s in NOLA, with Marcus Smart proving that he is a vital asset to the Celtics starting 5, locking down the opposing guards in his 5 starts. New Orleans also have shown that they regularly have lapses in games and leak points on the fast break. Nikola Mirotic kept the Pelicans within striking distance last game with hot three point shooting, so the Celtics will have to do a better job closing him out.
The recent 5 game win streak which started in New Orleans has seen the Celtics rise up in league rankings across the board, Jeff Clark wrote about it here. Boston is putting up 126.2 points per game during this 5-game stretch. It will be interesting to see if our high paced output continues with the bench and the extended bench guys suiting up. Either way, it will be entertaining and we will get a look at some player/s, fans have been wanting to see more of **coughs** Time Lord **coughs**.
C’s Injury Breakdown:
Guerschon Yabusele suffered a nasty ankle tweak against the Bulls and will not be available until January. Al Horford is out with left knee soreness, this will be Al’s fourth game missed due to the ailment. Aron Baynes is also out with an ankle injury, Gordon Hayward is ill and Kyrie Irving as also out with right shoulder soreness.
Former starter Jaylen Brown will play from the bench once again tonight and Terry Rozier will replace Kyrie Irving
Terry Rozier will start tonight in place of the injured Kyrie Irving.— Boston Celtics (@celtics) December 10, 2018
PG - Marcus Smart – Jrue Holiday
SG - Terry Rozier – Tim Frazier
SF - Jayson Tatum – Solomon Hill
PF - Marcus Morris Sr – Julius Randle
C - Daniel Theis – Anthony Davis
Boston – Jabari Bird (Personal), Guerschon Yabusele (Ankle), Aron Baynes (Ankle), Al Horford (Knee), Kyrie Irving (Shoulder), Gordon Hayward (Illness)
New Orleans- Elfrid Payton (finger), E’Twaun Moore
How to Watch
Time – 7:30 PM EST
TV – NBC Sports Boston