Boston: 108.1 points/100 possessions (12th)
Clippers: 104.5 points/100 possessions (23rd)
Boston: 101.6 points allowed/100 possessions (2nd)
Clippers: 107.3 points allowed/100 possessions (18th)
Probable LAC starters:
Baron Davis, Chris Kaman, Marcus Camby, Al Thornton/Eric Gordon, Rasual Butler
Clippers: OUT: Sebastian Telfair, Blake Griffin QUESTIONABLE: Eric Gordon, Al Thornton
C’s: OUT: Marquis Daniels, Brian Scalabrine
Thumbnail: The Celtics try to revenge their loss in LA from earliest this year against the short handed Clips, looking for some momentum before their toughest week of the season, schedule wise.
WHAT THE CLIPPERS DO WELL SLIGHTLY ABOVE AVERAGE:
* Saying they do things “well: is a bit of a reach for this Clippers team, since it implies that the Clippers do things at an elite level. The problem is that there really is very little the Clippers do at an “elite level.” That’s not to say they do everything poorly, they just do many things at a slightly above average level compared to the rest of the league. So with that in mind, let’s rename this category “things The Clippers do slightly above average”
* Offensive Rebound. They rank 11th in the league in offensive rebounding percentage and we all know how much of a problem the C’s have had keeping their opponents off the glass lately. Boston actually did a solid job defending the Clips in this department back in LA last month, but one of the best rebounders in the league Marcus Camby did not play in that contest. Needless to say, KG and Perk will have their hands full tonight with him and Chris Kaman
* Shoot from the field. They can’t shoot from deep (we’ll get to that later) but they are overall 11th in the league in shooting percentage. Not too shabby.
* Defend The Three. Perhaps the best thing the Clippers do statistically is defend on the perimeter, allowing only 33 percent shooting from downtown, which is tied with the C’s for 5th in the league. Given how big a part of the C’s offense the 3 ball is, should be interesting to see what side gives tonight.
WHAT THE CLIPS DO POORLY:
* Shoot from deep. As I mentioned earlier, they have improved their overall shooting since the last time these two matched up, but they’re especially bad from three-point range, where they’re hitting just 31.1 percent of their shots. Only three teams are worse. Eric Gordon is the only guy the C’s will have to keep close tabs on the perimeter (37 percent) but he might not even play with a sore toe. Rasual Butler (31 percent) can hurt you, has not been consistent this year. And Steve Novak, their shooting specialist is shooting 23 percent from downtown this year……so I’m not really sure why he is still on this team
* Defensive Rebounding. A surprising problem given the two giants they have down low and how well they fare on the offensive glass. They rank 24th overall in the league bringing down defensive boards. Luckily for them, this is a department the C’s are unlikely to make them pay in.
* Take care of the ball. I will simply allow Zach Lowe’s summary of the situation last month to take us home here, since nothing has changed since then for both teams: “The Clips and the C’s sit right next to each other near the very bottom of the league’s turnover percentage rankings. The C’s could go a long way to making this an easier win if they cough it up just 12 times instead of, say, 16; fewer turnovers means more shot attempts for the good guys and two or three fewer fast-break chances for an offensively challenged team such as the Clips.”
* Play on the road (6-14 on the year)
PLAYER/S WHO MAKE ME WORRY:
* Eric Gordon. He makes me worry somewhat but he’s hurt and may not even suit up tonight with a sore toe, so let’s look further down the list
* Chris Kaman. The guy absolutely demolished Perk last month (27 and 12) with his nice collection of low post moves. Perk has had problems with guys like Kaman who actually know how to get some good shots up in the post, but here’s hoping Perk learned his lesson.
* Mardy Collins. This time he will get in the game with Sebastian Telfair injured, and I will also fear a random outburst from him against the good guys. Luckily, this time we are in Boston so he will be less comfortable out there. He can be a thorn defensively though with the 2nd unit.
PLAYER/S WHO DO NOT MAKE ME WORRY:
* Ricky Davis. When he matches up with TA tonight on the 2nd unit, I look forward to seeing who will win the battle of wits.
* DeAndre Jordan. He is shooting 47.8 percent from the line in his last 10 games. That’s 10 points better than his season average of 36.7. And we thought Rondo was bad at the beginning of this year.
WHAT WE WANT TO SEE FROM THE C’s TONIGHT:
* Rajon Rondo containing Baron Davis. The C’s have been burned all over the floor in recent matchups by the opposition’s point man. Davis worked over Rondo with 24 points and 13 assists last month. The bigger Baron is a tough opponent for Rondo, but he will have to play him smart and not gamble unwisely on steals. Keeping the former UCLA guard under wraps will be the key to win this game.
PREDICTION: The Clippers have the talent to match up well with the C’s. However, this one is at home and the C’s will desperately need another win to gain some momentum before heading down south against the other East contenders. Look for a back and forth affair before the C’s pull away late. C’s 99, Clips 89.