vs San Antonio Spurs (43-28) at Boston Celtics (47-25)
Sunday, March 28
8:00 PM ET
Game #73, Home Game #36
TV: ESPN, CSN-NE, KMYS
Radio: WOAI, WEEI
Referees: Mark Wunderlich, Matt Boland, Kane Fitzgerald
The Celtics have won their last 5 home games and are now 1 game ahead of the Hawks for the 3rd place and 3.5 games behind the Magic for the second spot in the East. The Spurs are sitting in the 7th spot in the West a game behind the Thunder and just half game in front of Portland for the pleasure of meeting the Lakers in the first round.
Both teams are 7-3 in their last 10 games. San Antonio has been average away from home, going just 17-17 on the road while the Celtics are 23-12 at the Garden and have won their last 5 games there. The Celtics are going for their 3rd straight win while the Spurs are going for 2 in a row.
In December, the Celtics won their fourth straight game in San Antonio, a feat they had not accomplished in nearly 20 years. Kevin Garnett led the C’s offensive output with 20 points while Rajon Rondo added another double-double with 12 points and 12 assists. The Celtics brought their tough D for the third straight night, limiting the Spurs to just 42% from the field and 12.5% from beyond the arc. The Spurs last lead of the game came with 9:54 remaining in the first quarter with the score 4-2. The Spurs were led by rookie DeJuan Blair and his 18 points and 11 boards off the bench while Tim Duncan added 16 points and 15 boards.
The Celtics will more than likely be playing without Kendrick Perkins for the second straight game and if so, the Celtics will need to get some effort out of Rasheed Wallace. Wallace has played Duncan well in the past and hopefully that will continue in this game.
George Hill/Manu Ginobili/Richard Jefferson/Tim Duncan/Antonio McDyess
Rajon Rondo vs George Hill
With Parker out, Hill has been called on to run the team and has been doing a good job. Rondo has been on a tear in recent games and hopefully he will continue his aggressive play in this game.
Kevin Garnett vs Tim Duncan
This is a matchup of the two best power forwards in the league. Both have slowed a bit but they are both still formidable foes. Both have been playing very well in recent games and so this should be a fun matchup to watch.
Ray Allen vs Manu Ginobili
Ginobili is very important to the Spurs offense, especially with Parker out. In their last game, a win over the Cavs, one of the key reasons for the win was Ginobili outplaying LeBron. Ray will need to slow Ginobili down while continuing his own hot shooting.
Keys to the Game Defense - The Celtics appear to have returned to their defensive roots. They need to continue to play the swarming team defense that we have come to know and love.
Focus The Celtics have also regained their focus when playing at home, having won their last 5 games at the Garden. They need to continue to focus on team play and establish home dominance once again.
Rebound The Spurs are a good rebounding team and the Celtics need to concentrate on crashing the boards. The Celtics have been doing much better at this in recent games and need to continue to put out the effort on the boards. By dominating the boards, the Celtics can prevent put backs and second chance points.
Be Aggressive When the Celtics are aggressive in going after loose balls, taking the ball to the hoop and playing in your face defense, they are very tough to beat. When they get lazy and allow teams to beat them to loose balls and rebounds and when they settle for jumpers and don't go to the basket, they are very beatable. They must stay aggressive.
Play 48 Minutes The Celtics let a big lead slip once again against the Kings. Of course, this time when the starters returned, they held the Kings at bay, but against a better team, they may not have been able to. Both the starters and especially the bench must come out strong and play hard without letting up.
This is my most favourite duel between the East and the West as I’m a fan of both of this team from their respective conference.
Instant classic performance from Manu, for me this is happening during the right time of the season for him. Anyone who knows his NBA will admit that this level of confidence from him can help the Spurs to make a great run in the playoffs. He brings all the much needed energy that this Spurs has been lacking for a long time. Now we’re about to see something special from the, considering they have made a strong from the win and their previous games against Cavs. All they need to do is wait for Parker to recover and discover his best. Then maybe, 2010 might just be the Spurs year again. If not, I’ll bet it will happen in 2011.
Truly the most memorable moment for many people must have been the block Manu made on KG. Well I will agree with the majority but that’s because in my humble opinion it was watching how the old warrior stood up bravely despite hitting hard on his back in the floor. That’s is the stuff of legend by all means.