Friday, March 20, 2009
8:30 pm ET
AT&T Center (San Antonio, TX)
There is a lot going on in the basketball world right now, highlighted by “March Madness,” the NCAA’s 2009 tournament. The buzz around your place of business and/or amongst your group of friends is centered around bracket selections, upsets, sleepers, pool standings, etc. It’s a great time.
All bracket busters aside, the Celtics still have 13 regular season games to play before shifting their focus towards playoff basketball. Tonight, the men in green will be hosted by the San Antonio Spurs, who hold the NBA’s fourth-best record at 45-22. This is a tough game against a tough team, in a tough building to win it.
However, the Celtics may be getting a much-needed boost for tonight’s showdown, as Kevin Garnett may give it a go for the first time since February 19 due to a knee strain. Throughout that stint, the struggling C’s settled for an underwhelming 7-6 record. Ray Allen, who sat out of Wednesday night’s overtime victory vs. Miami with a hyperextended right elbow, is also listed as a gametime decision.
San Antonio’s “big three” has fought the injury bug of late, as well. Manu Ginobili remains sidelined with a stress reaction in his right ankle, while Gregg Popovich is sitting Tim Duncan on the second night of some back-to-backs as he battles knee soreness. Even Tony Parker missed nine consecutive games in November.
Hobbled or not, these clubs are two of the scariest that the league has to offer, and are both hungry for late-season victories in order to secure the two-seed in their respective conferences.
G G F F C
PPG: Paul Pierce (20.6)
RPG: Kevin Garnett (8.8)
APG: Rajon Rondo (8.5)
SPG: Rajon Rondo (1.9)
BPG: Kendrick Perkins (1.8)
G G F F C
PPG: Tony Parker (21.4)
RPG: Tim Duncan (10.7)
APG: Tony Parker (6.7)
SPG: Manu Ginobili (1.5)
BPG: Tim Duncan (1.8)
Kevin Garnett (posterior muscle strain – probable)
Ray Allen (hyperextended right elbow – probable)
Leon Powe (bruised right knee – questionable)
Tony Allen (recovering from thumb surgery – out)
Brian Scalabrine (concussions/strained neck – out)
Tim Duncan (sore knees – will play)
Manu Ginobili (stress reaction in right ankle – out)
Ian Mahinmi (recovering from right ankle surgery – out)
Keys to Victory
- Ball Control
- Perkins’ Interior Help D
- Cut Off Parker’s Penetration
- Bench Play