Hopefully, Santa Claus leaves a win in the Boston Celtics stocking.
The last time these two teams squared-off, Rajon Rondo’s consecutive-game, double-digit assist streak came to an end. In the second quarter, the fiery point guard was ejected for mauling Kris Humphries (who Rondo gives up eight inches and forty-nine pounds to), after Kim Kardashian’s ex, cheap-shotted Kevin Garnett.
Do not expect any outbursts in today’s game.
Both teams are sputtering. Prior to a win on Sunday against Philadelphia, Brooklyn had dropped three straight games.
Meanwhile, the Celtics are coming off a home loss to Milwaukee in overtime. Boston’s lack of size has plagued them throughout this young season, creating an uproar amongst fans to bring in someone who can protect the rim and help solve the team’s rebounding woes.
In what will be an extremely competitive, high-energy game, the first key for the Celtics is perimeter defense.
In thirteen contests, Deron Williams has gotten the better of Rondo, boasting a 7-6 advantage. Not only does Williams get the better of his counterpart in the win-loss column, but he also gives Number Nine fits at both ends of the floor.
Williams’s physical nature makes it difficult for Rondo to penetrate the lane. At 6”3, 209, this is exactly the type of player who Boston’s point guard has difficulty defending, as Williams can utilize his size and strength advantage.
The Celtics will also have to keep Joe Johnson in check, who came alive down the stretch, the last time these teams met in Brooklyn, spurring the nets to victory. If Avery Bradley does in fact suit up, this may be the man he is asked to contain, albeit while playing limited minutes.
There is also Gerald Wallace, who is shooting 46 percent in the month of December. This will be up to Paul Pierce, whose offensive explosion hopefully can continue today and throughout this entire road trip.
The next key for Boston is the bench.
What better place to emerge than on the national stage, on Christmas?
Jason Terry is in a shooting funk, and Jeff Green is playing with a few chipped teeth and bruised cheek. But resiliency resides within each of these critical role players, and rising to this occasion would go a long way towards earning a victory.
The third key is rebounding. Despite Humphries being a healthy scratch in the team’s last game, expect him to play today and to be carrying a large chip on his shoulder. Boston will need to be accountable for Humphries at all times and make sure to get a body on him. Limiting his impact on the game, both on the boards and in the fast break, is vital.
Today marks the beginning of a difficult road trip. Starting things off with a win over a team they will be jockeying for a more advantageous playoff position with throughout the season, would be a Christmas present the Celtics would truly be grateful for.