All-Star weekend has come to a close, and the second half of the season officially begins tonight for the Celtics (28-24). Boston will open up a five-game West coast road trip with a rematch against Denver (33-21). The last meeting between these teams resulted in a thrilling triple-overtime victory for the Celtics.
Paul Pierce led the Celtics in that previous 118-114 win with 27 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists. It was Pierce’s second triple-double of the season. Jason Terry also broke out for 26 points, his career high as a member of the Celtics.
The Celtics had trouble stopping some Denver players though, most notably Ty Lawson who consistently used his quickness to get by Boston defenders. Lawson finished with a game high 29 points. Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee both figure to see time guarding Lawson tonight, in a hopeful attempt of stopping him.
It will be a team effort though to slow down the Nuggets. Denver averages 105.1 points per game, the third highest mark in the NBA.
The Celtics have responded well since the loss of Rajon Rondo, going 8-1, but have been untested on the road. Boston has played just two games away from the Garden since Rondo tore his ACL, including a loss to the Charlotte Bobcats. Boston has only won a total of eight games on the road.
That won’t fair well in Denver as the Nuggets hold a significant advantage this season when playing at home. The Nuggets are an impressive 22-3 in the Pepsi Center, and have won their last seven at home.
If Boston is going to pull out the victory tonight, they’ll need another strong performance from their bench, who contributed with 51 points during the Feb. 10 meeting.
The NBA trade deadline looms closer by the day. Many rumors circle around the Celtics, and it’s possibly the last time this current group plays together. If this is their last go-around, Celtics’ fans hope it ends victoriously.