Boston Celtics vs. Charlotte Bobcats: Preview, Analysis and Predictions
Boston is currently 34-28 and 12-19 on the road. They've won five of their past six games, although their most recent outing was a 91-79 loss at the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Fortunately for the Celtics, they remain in sixth place in the East.
As for the Bobcats, they're 13-50 and 7-24 at home. They've lost 10 consecutive games and appear to be uncertain as to which way is up.
With that being said, Charlotte defeated Boston by a score of 94-91 on Feb. 11. Could we see history repeat itself?
Let's figure that out.
Time: Tuesday, March 12 at 7:00 p.m. EDT
TV: CSN New England & Fox Sports Carolinas
Records: Boston Celtics (34-28) at Charlotte Bobcats (13-50)
Betting Line: N/A as of Sunday, March 10 at 10:52 p.m. EDT
Boston Celtics' Injury Report
Rajon Rondo, Torn Right ACL, Out
Jared Sullinger, Back Surgery, Out
Charlotte Bobcats' Injury Report
Ramon Sessions, Sprained Left MCL, Out
Tyrus Thomas, Personal, Questionable
Key Storyline: A Tale of Two Streaks
So whose current pattern of success—or lack thereof—will continue?
The Bobcats may be struggling, but it's hardly feasible to believe this team isn't desperate for a win. Fortunately, Charlotte defeated the Celtics on Feb. 11—three days before their current streak.
Don't think for a second that the Celtics forgot about the loss.
Boston has been as hot as any team in the NBA, taking down powers and playing stellar defense during losses. With that being said, there is a stinging loss that remains embedded deep in their memory.
Look for both teams to do whatever it takes for a victory here—they certainly need it.
Key Matchup: Kemba Walker vs. Avery Bradley
With Ramon Sessions sidelined by a sprained left MCL, Charlotte Bobcats point guard Kemba Walker will see extended run. Unfortunately, Kemba will have a difficult obstacle to overcome.
Boston Celtics defensive stopper Avery Bradley.
When it comes to Bradley, you can throw offensive statistics to the wind. This young man is one of the most dominant defensive forces in the NBA.
Even at a generous 6'2".
When tasked with facing the Indiana Pacers on March 6, Bradley held George Hill to 4-of-11 shooting. That only begins to scratch the surface of what Bradley has done during the past two weeks. With Bradley defending them, All-Star Jrue Holiday shot 6-of-17 and, fresh off of his 54-point performance, Stephen Curry went 6-of-22.
This is what Walker has in store for him as he attempts to lead his team to a losing streak-ending upset. If he's unable to overcome Bradley's relentless defense, the Bobcats simply will not win.
That may sound like overwhelming pressure, but it's purely factual—Charlotte needs Walker to step up to win this game.
X-Factor: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats
On March 12, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist will be squaring off with an active legend and offensive load in Paul Pierce. The key to MKG's success will be simple to write and nearly impossible to execute.
Don't bite on Pierce's countless head and ball fakes—it'll be the death of your defense.
Pierce is widely considered to be one of the trickiest players in the NBA today. A major reason is his ability to use his strength and agility to pull opponents out of position. If the Bobcats plan on winning this game, it's on Kidd-Gilchrist to do his best to not fall for Pierce's usual tricks.
This isn't to say that MKG must hold Pierce scoreless, as that simply will not transpire. What is to be acknowledged, however, is how desperate the Bobcats will be for MKG's ability to contain him.
If Kidd-Gilchrist can slow Pierce down—specifically in the fourth quarter—the Bobcats stand a fighting chance.
The Boston Celtics are hardly a quality road team at 12-19 away from home. Still, the Charlotte Bobcats are 7-24 at home and losers of 10 consecutive games.
Who will win?
Without Ramon Sessions, make that 11 consecutive.
The Celtics are an elite defensive team that held the Oklahoma City Thunder to 91 points on March 10. With the Bobcats ranking 28th in scoring defense, that doesn't bode well for their chances at victory.
Not when Avery Bradley can contain Kemba Walker—their leading scorer and facilitator.
Walker will make things interesting, but Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will be too much. Jeff Green will add his occasionally brilliant contributions as well, and the C's will win a rugged game.
Jason Terry's recent string of red-hot three-point shooting is worth noting against the NBA's 27th-ranked three-point shooting team.
Boston Celtics 99, Charlotte Bobcats 87
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