Boston at Charlotte
7:00 P.M. ET
Time Warner Cable Arena
Boston: 94.7 points/100 possessions (26th)
Charlotte: 94.2 points/100 possessions (T-27th)
Boston: 101.6 points allowed/100 possessions (14th)
Charlotte: 97.6 points allowed/100 possessions (6th)
Probable Bobcats Starters:
Kemba Walker (PG), Gerald Henderson (SG), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (SF), Josh McRoberts (PF) & Al Jefferson (C)
View From The Opposing Bench: Queen City Hoops
Thumbnail: The Bobcats franchise has participated in just one playoff series in nine years of existence. Although they are tied for the 14th-best record in the NBA and own a negative point differential on the season, the Bobcats find themselves in the fifth spot of the Eastern Conference standings. They have done this mostly without their big offseason acquisition, and former Celtic, Al Jefferson. He has played in just five games this season, but his best one came in his first career victory against the Celtics. On November 13 at TD Garden, he put up season-highs in points, rebounds and free throws en route to his only double-double this season.
That contest was the beginning of the Celtics’ six-game losing streak. In the fourth quarter against Charlotte, the green only converted on six of their 18 shot attempts. The Celtics did not execute very well near the end of that game, but they were fantastic this past Saturday in Atlanta. They shot 53 percent from the field and attempted a whopping 14 free throws in the final frame. Jordan Crawford’s 10 points in those last 12 minutes led the Celtics’ 30-point barrage. The point guard had a strong night on the floor as he tied his career-best plus/minus, registered his fifth career double-double and got to the line for a season-best eight free throws.
The Celtics’ 31 free-throw attempts on Saturday were their most in a road game in over a year. In addition, they had a season-high 19 more shots from the line than their opponent. The man who replaced Kelly Olynyk in the starting lineup reignited in his return to big-boy playing time. For the first time in a week, Brandon Bass was on the court for at least 30 minutes, and he rewarded Brad Stevens with a team-high 17 points and a highlight dunk near the end of the game. Olynyk remains out for a couple of weeks with a sprained right ankle, but the Celtics’ frontcourt depth of Vitor Faverani and Kris Humphries prevents them from having much drop-off.
Prediction: The Celtics’ impressive performance on Saturday, including holding the Hawks to 5-of-23 shooting in the fourth quarter, vaulted the C’s defensive efficiency from 19th to 14th. Jared Sullinger, who did not play in the last game against the Bobcats, gives Boston that extra boost on offense as the team’s defense keeps it up.
Celtics 90, Bobcats 87
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