Five days ago, the Boston Celtics got blown out by the Charlotte Bobcats in the ugliest game Boston has played this season. Tonight, they look to return the favor to the now 14-51 Bobcats, who’s only win this week came at the hands of the Celtics. In Boston’s defense. captain Paul Pierce had the night off, and even though every game is important as the season comes to an end, the Celtics didn’t have any sense of urgency and didn’t seem to care about the outcome on Tuesday night. To avoid another embarrassment, here are the keys to an easy victory so Boston can be well rested to face the Miami Heat on Monday.
- Unlike most keys to victory being based on what a team should do or focus on, tonight should be more about how the Celtics deny the Bobcats from having any chance of winning. On Tuesday night, Charlotte got very confident when Boston decided not to show up for the game. The Bobcats have always given the Celtics trouble, and I expect nothing different tonight. For a team that is last in the Eastern Conference, they sure have a lot of confidence, especially when facing an elite team. So the first key to victory is to dishearten Charlotte as quickly as possible. The Celtics cannot allow the Bobcats to stay in the game, and starting the first half strong would send a clear message to this pesky team and deplete them of their confidence.
- Boston must show up tonight, plain and simple. If the Celtics had put a few ounces of energy into the game Tuesday, they probably would have walked away with the win. Pierce will play tonight, which should make a difference as there aren’t many times the Celtics get blown out while he’s on the floor. The team just needs to come into the game with energy and poise, and basically do everything they didn’t do Tuesday.
- One of the few things the Celtics must do tonight on the floor is stop Gerald Henderson. Just like his dad, he’s making a name for himself, unfortunately not in a Celtics uniform. Henderson had a career high in points Tuesday, scoring 35. He’s always had great games against Boston, but what he did in that blow out game was unacceptable. Henderson is averaging 14 points per game this season, and I’d like to think that the Celtics would want to keep his point production somewhere around his average tonight. He’s a dangerous player, one who can do it all on the floor, but playing defense goes a long way, and if Boston chooses to shut him down, the Bobcats will likely lose.
- If the starters for Boston don’t enter the game with energy, it’s up to the bench to light a fire under the team. Players like Jeff Green, Jason Terry, Chris Wilcox, and Jordan Crawford need to supply the Celtics with points, and some life if the older veterans don’t start the game off right. The bench has been playing well as of late, and with tonight’s opponent not being a good team, the starters minutes on the floor may be limited, so the role players might have to be relied upon in stretches during the second and third quarters.
Getting a win tonight is important. The Atlanta Hawks and Chicago Bulls both came away with victories last night, so to keep pace and stay in a three way tie for fifth in the Eastern Conference standings, it would be nice if Boston gets past Charlotte fairly easily tonight. After tonight, the Celtics face the dominant Miami Heat who’ve won 21 straight games. A win tonight would be a nice way to continue that momentum into Monday, and give Miami a run for their money.