Matinee Fun In the Valley of the Sun

44-12 @ 31-23
Sunday, February 22, 2009
2:30 pm ET
US Airways Center (Phoenix, AZ)

The C’s failed to begin the post-All-Star stretch on the right foot, as the surging Utah Jazz fought hard and earned their 90-85 victory over Boston this past Thursday night at EnergySolutions Arena. The worst part of the night for the Celtics was not the loss, however. It was the right knee injury to team backbone Kevin Garnett, who will be out for the next two-to-three weeks with a posterior muscle strain.

Losing Garnett is a tough pill to swallow, but in times like these, you’ve got to maintain a positive mindset. Last year’s squad held a very respectable 7-2 record when Garnett went down with an abdominal strain, which [ironically enough] kept him out of action for roughly three weeks.

Even with that in mind, you can’t help but worry about this Celtic defense, sans “The Big Ticket,” and you certainly can’t help but worry about this KG-less Celtic defense against the high-powered offense of the Phoenix Suns. Why, you ask? Take a look at their recent game logs. Under interim head coach Alvin Gentry, the Suns have gone 3-0 with an astonishing scoring average of 140.7 points per game. Granted, their competition wasn’t exactly the cream of the crop throughout those three games (LA Clippers twice, Oklahoma City), but three straight 140+ point scoring performances is an impressive feat no matter what NBA team it is completed against.

The Suns can still score, make no mistake about it. They are, however, also down one horse. While Garnett is battling through his multi-week knee strain, Suns scoring leader Amare Stoudemire may very well miss the remainder of the regular season after undergoing surgery on his right eye last week. Recovery time for his repaired retina is expected to keep him off the floor for approximately eight weeks, which likely covers the rest of Phoenix’s regular season schedule and could cut into Western Conference Quarterfinal play, should the Suns earn a playoff berth.

Life for our beloved Celtics will be no picnic without Stoudemire in the lineup, however. They’ve still got to deal with Shaquille “The Big Jabbawockee” O’Neal and his friends out on the perimeter, highlighted by two-time MVP Steve Nash and Celtic-killer Jason Richardson.

Win or lose, this should be an entertaining one. Get your matinee popcorn ready.

Projected Starters

Team Leaders
PPG: Paul Pierce (20.0)
RPG: Kevin Garnett (8.8)
APG: Rajon Rondo (8.4)
SPG: Rajon Rondo (2.0)
BPG: Kendrick Perkins (1.8)

Projected Starters

Team Leaders
PPG: Amare Stoudemire (21.4)
RPG: Shaquille O’Neal (8.9)
APG: Steve Nash (8.9)
SPG: Jason Richardson (1.2)
BPG: Shaquille O’Neal (1.5)

Key Matchup

Injury Report
Kevin Garnett (posterior muscle strain – out)
Tony Allen (thumb surgery – out)
Amare Stoudemire (detached retina surgery – out)

Keys to Victory

  • Transition Defense
  • Timely Closeouts
  • Control the Glass
  • Attack, Attack, Attack

16 Responses

  1. you guys doing a live chat or anything? I hate sunday games I play ball at night so no drinky drinky for me. My liver thanks me C’s by 11

  2. good pt on KG resting over the all-star break instead of now. Thing is he’s never going to ask for rest. Doc’s got to pull a Tito and rest these guys…

  3. Let’s hope for SugarRay to have a big game today. Also, are we still undefeated when Scal starts..? If so, he’s starting today so that could be a good omen. Like to see Perk take it down low early and often to get Shaq in foul trouble. Go Green.

  4. Rondo looks great so far…he left J.Rich in the dust on that one play.

  5. I’m watchin the play by play online, so correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like Rondo eats Steve Nash’s lunch every time they go head to head.

  6. The best game I’ve ever seen Rondo play. Easily. And there’s still 3 minutes left in the first half.

  7. Rondo has killed them. Nash can’t handle him.

  8. Like it so far

  9. Plus extra motivation when Rondo plays the Suns: Suns traded his draft rights to us you know he remembers that… its his birthday today… and he has to be fired up to play against future hall of famer Nash.

    Lets go PP you gotta get in the party too… Ray and Rondo are playing great so far

    Go Celtics

  10. Lets hope Rajon can keep it up in the second half, and maybe he should wear that shooting sleeve more often. Whats up with him wearing it today anyway? I trust that Steve Nash doesn’t scratch him like Rip scratches Ray.

  11. This LeBron/Kobe love fest thing has gone too far. This half time segment is gross.

  12. I’m not even watching it. Gladiator is on… which is nice little halftime diversion

  13. My projection for Rondo is 36 pts. 14 assists 11 rebounds.

  14. 31 10 11

  15. About to close the deal at PHO – Great win and a big boost of confidence for our team. Rondo came out smoking – Happy Birthday Kid!

    Who would win a 40 yard dash between Rondo vs. Barbosa?

    Go Celtics

  16. Scallie!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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