Philadelphia 76ers (11-17) at Boston Celtics (22-4)
Wednesday, December 22
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #27 – Home Game #14
TV: CSN-NE, CSN-P, NBA-LP 754
Radio: WEEI, WIP
Referees: Scott Foster, Tony Brothers, Scott Wall
The Celtics host divison rival Philadelphia 76ers. Although there hasn't been much of a rivalry in recent years, at one time, this was a very fierce rivalry. The Celtics come into this game riding a 13 game win streak in spite of battling various injuries throughout. They are getting healthier though, with the return of Shaq in the last game and the imminent return of Jermaine, very possibly in this game. The Celtics must resist the temptation to let up as they get healthy and as players return. They have to still have that play all out attitude that has gotten them through the win streak so far.
The Celtics said at the beginning of the season that they wanted to establish a home court dominance this season and they have done just that with a 12-1 home record thus far. The Sixers have not been a great road team with just a 3-11 record away from home. The Sixers are 6-4 in their last ten games and are coming off a 121-76 drubbing at the hands of the Chicago Bulls.
The Celtics are well rested having last played on Sunday while the Sixers are playing in the second of back to back games on the road, having played on Tuesday night in Chicago. The Sixers are at full strength while the Celtics are still nursing several injuries including their starting point guard still nursing his sprained ankle.
In the first meeting between these two teams, the Celtics needed an alley oop from Rondo to KG at the buzzer to pull out a 102-101 victory. Hopefully they will get to have some Gino time in this one.
PG: Nate Robinson..................................................SG Ray Allen
C: Shaquille O'Neal
SF: Paul Pierce ................................. ............PF Kevin Garnett
Boston Bench Mob
Kendrick Perkins (knee) out
Jermaine O'Neal (knee) day to day
Delonte West (wrist) out
Rajon Rondo (hamstring, plantar fasciitis) out
Semih Erden (groin, shoulder) probable
SF: Andre Iguodala .................................................. PF: Elton Brand
Paul Pierce vs Andre Iguodala
Kevin Garnett vs Elton Brand
Keys to the Game Defense - The Celtics allowed the Sixers to score 101 points in their first meeting. The Celtics also allowed 40 points and 47% shooting from beyond the arc. The Celtics must concentrate on defense and keep the Sixers out of the paint as well as doing a better job of guarding them on the perimeter.
Rebound - In their first meeting, the Sixers out-rebounded the Celtics 39-33 and that allowed the Sixers to make the game much closer than it should have. The Celtics must put out a better effort on the boards and that effort will translate into other areas as well.
Focus - The Celtics must come into the game focused and not let up until the final buzzer. They can't let the Sixers record affect their effort or their focus. They need to have that killer instinct no matter what team they are playing.
The Celtics can't underestimate the Sixers. They have been playing fairly well recently and they will be looking to avenge the heartbreaking loss they suffered the first time they met.
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