at Charlotte Bobcats (28-42) at Boston Celtics (50-20)
Friday, March 25
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #71 Home Game #37
TV: CSN-NE, SSO-CHA, SNET1, NBA-LP 753/754
Radio: WEEI, WPNZ
Referees: David Jones, Kane Fitzgerald, Michael Smith
This is the 4th and final meeting between these two teams. The Celtics split the games in Charlotte, winnint the first game 93-62 and lost the second 89-94. They won the first game in Boston 99-94 without KG, who was out with the calf strain.
The Bobcats made their own big trades at the deadline, sending fan favorite and last original Bobcat, Gerald Wallace to Portland for Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham, Sean Marks and draft picks. They also traded Nazr Mohammed for DJ White and Mo Peterson. They were the 8th seed at the trade deadline but since have dropped 3 games behind Indiana for the 8th spot. The Celtics have now dropped a full game behind Chicago for the top seed. Chicago hosts the Grizzlies on Friday and since the Bulls have been playing so well, it is doubtful that they will have a mental lapse like the Celtics did against Memphis.
The all time record between the Celtics and Bobcats is 6-18 and at home, the Celtics are 10-2 against them. The Celtics are 5-5 in their last 10 games while the Bobcats are 2-8 in their last 10. The Celtics are 29-7 at home and undefeated against Eastern Conference foes. The Bobcats are 11-25 on the road.
Both teams are trying to find chemistry after trading key players. Both teams have also been battling injuries. Stephen Jackson is listed as day to day with a hamstring injury and without him, the Bobcats have struggled even more. Joel Przybilla and Tyrus Thomas are both listed as day to day as well. The Celtics are still without both O'Neals and Wafer and Troy Murphy is listed as day to day (which might not be a bad thing the way he has played).
The Celtics were saying all the right things after their loss to the Grizzlies. Hopefully they can do the right things in this game. They have 12 games to get it right before the playoffs and so every game is important. They finally had a practice on Thursday and reports are that it was very intense. Let's hope that getting a practice in will help to get them back on track. This is another game that the Celtics should win but as with most games lately, whether they do or not is anyone's guess.
at Memphis Grizzlies (39-32) at Boston Celtics (50-19)
Wednesday, March 23
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #70, Home Game #36
TV: CSN-NE, SSO-MEM, NBA-LP 756/757
Radio: WEEI, WRBO
Referees: Steve Javie, Tony Brown, Olandis Poole This is the second and final meeting between these two teams. In the first game, the Celtics came away with a 116-110 win in Memphis. The Grizzlies have lost 2 in a row on the road coming into this game. The Celtics have won their last 2 and 5 of their last 6 at home.
The Celtics are half a game behind the Bulls for the top seed in the East After the Bulls blew out the Hawks in Atlanta on Tuesday. If the Celtics want to keep pace with the Bulls for that top seed, they need to get this win. The Grizzlies are in a fight on the other end of the conference. They are up 2 on the Rockets for the 8th and final spot in the East and 1 game behind the Hornets for the 7th seed.
The Celtics would do well not to take the Grizzlies for granted. They have won 21 of their last 30 games. They are also 8-6 since Rudy Gay went down with the shoulder injury. They are a good defensive team, leading the league in forced turnovers and steals. They also tend to hold leads when they get them as they are 19-0 when leading at the half so the Celtics need to get off to a good start and not dig themselves a hole in this game.
The Celtics are 29-6 at home, with all 6 losses against western conference teams. The Grizzlies are 14-22 on the road. Both teams are 6-4 in their last 10 games as well as having a 2 game win streak. Hopefully the Celtics will come out strong and play 48 minutes in this one instead of waiting until the second half to play. And it sure would be nice for Shaq to make a surprise return in this one but that's doubtful.
at Boston Celtics (49-19) at New York Knicks (35-34)
Monday, March 21
7:30 PM ET
Regular Season Game #69 – Road Game #34
TV: NBA-TV, CSNNE, MSG
Madison Square Garden
Referees: Monty McCutchen, Eric Lewis, Sean Wright
This is the 3rd of 4 meetings between these division rivals this season. The Celtics won the first two games but they were before both teams had an upheaval at the trade deadline. The Celtics have been struggling somewhat to regain their chemistry after the trades but the Knicks have struggled even more. The Knicks are just 7-8 since the trade and that has elicited complaints from Anthony about not getting enough touches and shots as well as complaints about the Knicks defense being too difficult for him to learn.
This game has playoff implications for both teams. The Celtics are once again tied with the Bulls for the top spot in the East. With the Bulls playing the Kings at home, the Celtics need a win in this game to keep pace. The Knicks are in the 7th spot and half a game behind Philly for the 6th seed.
The Celtics are 6-4 in their last 10 games and are coming off a big come back win against the Hornets. The Knicks are 4-6 in their last 10 games and have lost 2 in a row against Detroit and Milwaukee. The Knicks have also lost 5 of their last 6 games. The Celtics have had a day off while the Knicks are playing in the second of back to back games. The Knicks have had more success in back to back games than the Celtics and are 9-8 in the second game and 4-2 at home in an away-home set.
With both teams struggling in recent games, it will be a matter of which team wants this one more and can regroup and focus on playing their game to get the win. The Celtics need to get their defense in gear to stifle the Knicks potent offense and the Knicks need to ramp up their defense to overpower the Celtics. The Celtics showed signs of doing just that in the second half of their last game as they shut down the Hornets while coming back from a 15 point deficit to get the win. The Knicks struggled against both the Pistons and the Nuggets and haven't been able to find their groove as yet.
I'm sure the Knicks still remember their last loss to the Celtics at MSG. Paul Pierce hit a jumper with 0.4 seconds left to give the Celtics a lead and for a few moments it appeared that Amar'e Stoudemire's 3-pointer at the buzzer gave NY the win. But the officials ruled that the shot came just after the final buzzer as Boston won 118-116. A big game against a rival has a way of bringing out the best in players and teams. The team that wants it more and plays that way will come away with the win in this one.