The Sports Daily > Red's Army
How we see it goin’ down: Celtics – Suns

Tip: 7:30 pm    Court: TD Garden    Watch it: CSN  Hear it: WEEI

                           Referees:  Greg Willard, Brent Barnaky, James Williams

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The Matchup

Celtics text logo

Suns text logo
Record: 5-8 (3rd Atlantic, 9th East) Record: 5-9 (4th Pacific, 12th West)
At home: 4-4 On road: 2-5
Streak: Won 1 Streak: Won 1
    Leaders  Leaders
Buckets: Allen (15.6 ppg) Buckets: Steve Nash (15.1 ppg)
Boards: Garnett (7.5 rpg) Boards: Marcin Gortat (9.1 rpg)
Dimes: Rondo (9.4 apg) Dimes: Steve Nash (10.1 apg)
For the Stat Geeks: For the Stat Geeks: 
Offensive Rating: 101.9 (19th NBA) Offensive Rating: 102.7 (15th NBA)
Defensive Rating: 102.7 (16th NBA) Defensive Rating: 105.5 (24th NBA)
Pace: 88.6 (27th NBA) Pace: 91.4 (17th NBA)

Last time

The Celtics and Suns split the season series last year, with each team winning on its own floor.

This time

Get it to: Ray Allen

Assuming Rajon Rondo is out tonight, we'll need someone to pick up the scoring load (how odd does that sound?)  Ray has taken a back seat as the Celtics rode Rondo as the primary weapon with Pierce taking a bunch of shots to work himself back into shape.  If Rondo is out, Ray will have to get a LOT more touches.  I feel like he should be able to shake Jared Dudley and get free.

Gotta stop:  Steve Nash

I wanted to break my habit of opposing point guards here, but I can't.  Not with Nash.  He's averaging 18.1 points and 11.1 rebounds in his last 10 games, so he can still be pretty damn effective.  If Avery Bradley does get the start, then it's up to him to use his physical gifts and ability to defend to hound Nash the entire length of the floor.  Do NOT let them get into any offensive rhythm.  

I've said a lot about Avery Bradley, but his defense on Nash is THE reason why he'd start if Rondo can't go.   

The Wild Card: Marcin Gortat

He's putting up 14 and 9 for the season and 15.6/10.2 over his last 10..  He's big, he'll crash the boards, he'll bring energy, and he'll hit from mid-range.  This will be a challenge for Jermaine O'Neal.  If Gortat is getting early offensive boards and second chance points, this could be a long night.

How we see it goin' down

Scenario 1:  Without Rajon Rondo

If Rondo does indeed sit, the Celtics offense will struggle even more than it has in the past.  Will Avery Bradley be able to feed Ray, KG and Pierce in any kind of effective manner?  

The defense, however, may lead to some easy opportunities that will keep the game close.  However, losing their best player at this time will be too much to handle.  Without Rondo, the C's defense keeps it close, but not close enough, and the C's lose 91-85.

Scenario 2:  With Rajon Rondo

Rondo will account for at least 10 additional points.  The Suns allow 96.4 ppg, and that's about where the C's will land with Rondo running the show and getting to the basket.  With fewer turnovers and a different game flow, the C's pull out a win even with a Rondo that's not 100%, 97-90.