Boston Celtics vs. Denver Nuggets: Key Player Matchups to Watch

Morgan ChalfantContributor IIIFebruary 19, 2013

BOSTON, MA - FEBRUARY 10: Avery Bradley #0 of the Boston Celtics takes a shot over JaVale McGee #34 of the Denver Nuggets during the game on February 10, 2013 at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Tonight, February 19, the Boston Celtics and the Denver Nuggets will face off in Denver a mere nine days after the Celtics narrowly beat the Nuggets in the Boston TD Garden in three overtimes.

Two of the key matchups for tonight belong to the point guard and shooting guard positions. With Boston’s recent losses of Rajon Rondo and Leandro Barbosa to injury, both Avery Bradley and Courtney Lee need to come ready to play their best minutes in Denver.

Despite the abrupt loss of Rondo to an ACL injury, Bradley has been playing well now that he’s matched up with Courtney Lee. In the last 10 games, Bradley averaged 9.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.5 steals in 29.8 minutes of game play.

More importantly, he shined against Denver on February 10. He notched 13 points, five rebounds, four assists and three steals to lead Boston to a 118-114 win at home.

The 22-year-old Bradley will match up against 36-year-old Andre Miller of the Nuggets. Though Bradley has youth on his side, Miller has 13 years of experience in the NBA. Even though Denver ultimately lost against Boston on February 10, the game was close and Miller played quite well. He totaled 15 points, five rebounds and six assists in 40 minutes. Moreover, his statistics for the last 10 games reveal that he’s been great on the rebounds and assists; Miller averaged 8.1 points, 3.5 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.0 steals in 25.9 minutes per game.

At the shooting guard position, Boston’s Courtney Lee and Denver’s Andre Iguodala will face off. Lee has played well in Rondo’s absence, picking up more minutes and working with Avery Bradley to create fast-paced offense. For the last 10 games, Lee averaged 9.1 points, 2.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.1 steals. He was relatively quiet against Denver on February 10, though, scoring only two points.

If the Celtics want to win on the road tonight, Lee needs to match his good rebounds and assists with more points.

Andre Iguodala is a force to reckon with at the shooting guard position when he’s healthy. Though he missed the last two games because of a neck injury, the 29-year-old practiced yesterday and is expected to play tonight, according to Yahoo! Sports.

For the last 10 games, Iguodala averaged 14.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists and 1.9 steals in 32.1 minutes of play. Like Lee, Iguodala did not have his best game against Boston nine days ago; he played only 20 minutes and picked up five points, two rebounds and four assists. If the shooting guard comes to play at full force tonight, Lee will undoubtedly have to step it up on offense and defense to contest Iguodala’s game.