The Celtics still seek their first win on the West coast this season. Tonight, is as good a chance as any to get it.
Phoenix ranks 22nd in points allowed surrendering 100.1 points per game. At the offensive end, things are not much better. The suns average 94.9 points per game, again good enough for just 22nd in the league.
Basically, if the Celtics come out and play hard tonight, they will win.
Boston will also have deadline acquisition, Jordan Crawford, available to play tonight.
Furthermore, keeping the majority of this team in tact should motivate this team and without players having to worry about being traded, allow them to focus solely on the remainder of the season.
The first key for the Celtics is efficiency. Phoenix is below .500 at home (12-13), so it is not as if they play much better at home than the 87-79 loss they suffered in Boston earlier in the season.
Take care of the basketball on offense, good shot selection, keep the ball moving and remain active without the basketball; utilize these tools and expect a high scoring output.
On defense, communicate, rotate, contest shots and limit second chances. The Celtics defense ranks 10th in the NBA in points allowed per game at 96.1 a contest. It is hard to imagine the Suns offense being effective when Boston clamps down defensively.
Tonight’s second key is limiting dry spells. It has proven to be a major problem for the C’s this season, but with the addition of Crawford and Terrence Williams, the team once again features a deep guard rotation and can give Paul Pierce more rest.
While the big man rotation is very thin, there is an abundance of small-ball line-ups the team can utilize tonight to avoid lapses.
The third key is finishing quarters strong. The Celtics actually didn’t do a bad job of this against the Lakers, but is still something worth monitoring going forward.