The Celtics host the Denver Nuggets of their second straight residence recreation. That is the primary of two video games between these two groups this season. They’ll play another time on March 7 in Denver, the place the Nuggets have a really distinctive mile excessive residence court docket benefit. They had been 1-1 final season with every group profitable on their residence court docket. The Celtics are 58-38 total all time in opposition to the Nuggets and they’re 38-9 in video games performed in Boston.
The Celtics stay first within the East. They’re 4 video games forward of 2nd place Milwaukee, 5 video games forward of third place Philadelphia, 7 video games forward of 4th place Cleveland and eight video games forward of fifth place New York and sixth place Miami. They’re 20-0 at residence and 7-3 of their final 10 video games. They’re 9-3 in opposition to Western Convention opponents. They’ve gained their final 3 video games.
The Nuggets are third within the West. They’re 2 video games behind first place Minnesota and tied with 2nd place Oklahoma Metropolis, who personal the tie breaker. They’re 1 recreation forward of the 4th place Clippers, 3 video games forward of fifth place New Orleans, and 4 video games forward of sixth place Sacramento. They’re 11-10 on the street and 6-4 of their final 10 video games. They’re 11-4 in opposition to Japanese Convention groups. They’re coming off a loss of their final recreation.
The Celtics are taking part in of their 2nd straight residence recreation, after alternating residence and street video games over their earlier 5 video games. They’ll begin a 3 recreation street journey on Sunday that can take them by way of Houston and Dallas again to again after which into Miami. They’ll then return residence for a 7 recreation residence stand the place they are going to host the Clippers, Pelicans, Pacers, Lakers, Grizzlies, Hawks, and Washington.
The Nuggets are taking part in within the 2nd recreation of a 5 recreation street journey. They began the journey with a loss to the 76ers in Philadelphia. After this recreation in opposition to the Celtics, they are going to ply in Washington, Indiana and New York to complete out the street journey. They’ll then head residence to play Philadelphia after which Milwaukee earlier than heading out on the street as soon as once more.
Derrick White and Kristaps Porzingis missed Wednesday’s recreation however right now, there is no such thing as a one on the Celtics damage report. For the Nuggets, Vlatko Cancar is out for the season after tearing his ACL whereas taking part in for the Slovenian Nationwide group within the off season. Julian Strawther will miss his seventh recreation with a proper knee contusion. Aaron Gordon is listed as possible with shoulder soreness.
Possible Celtics Starters
2 Approach Gamers
Possible Nuggets Starters
2 Approach Gamers
Vlatko Cancar (knee) out
Julian Strawther (knee) out
Aaron Gordon (shoulder) possible
Kristaps Porzingis vs Nikola Jokic
Jokic is has gained again to again MVP’s and is within the dialog for MVP each season for a cause. He’s averaging 25.5 factors, 11.9 rebounds, 9.1 assists and 1.2 steals per recreation. He’s taking pictures 58.1% from the sphere and 34.5% from past the arc. He’s a handful and the Celtics must attempt to gradual him down by any means mandatory.
Jrue Vacation vs Jamal Murray
Murray is averaging 20.5 factors, 3.6 rebounds and 6.5 assists. He’s taking pictures 47.7% from the sphere and 41.0% from past the arc. The Celtics will want Jrue Vacation to proceed to play nicely on each ends of the court docket and they should defend Murray very nicely as he can put up factors in a rush.
Honorable Point out
Jaylen Brown vs Michael Porter, Jr
Porter is averaging 16.4 factors, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.5 assists. He’s taking pictures 48.2% from the sphere and 40.6% from past the arc. Brown has been taking part in very nicely on each ends of the court docket and the Celtics are going to wish him to proceed that on this recreation to provide themselves an opportunity to win. Porter is an excellent 3 level shooter and they also have to stick with him on the perimeter.
Keys to the Sport
Protection – Protection is the important thing to profitable each recreation. The Celtics are 2nd with a defensive ranking of 110.4 The Nuggets have a defensive ranking of 112.0, which is twentieth. The Celtics common 118.7 factors per recreation (2nd), whereas the Nuggets common 113.5 factors per recreation (twelfth). The Celtics must proceed to make protection a precedence, particularly in opposition to the Nuggets, who’re taking pictures 49.9% from the sphere as a group (4th) and 37.9% from past the arc (ninth) as a group.
Rebound – Rebounding is one other key to profitable each recreation. The Celtics are 1st within the league, averaging 47.5 rebounds per recreation. The Nuggets are thirteenth within the league with 43.8 rebounds per recreation. Rebounding takes effort and the Celtics should work tougher to seize rebounds to restrict the Nuggets second likelihood factors and quick breaks. The Celtics can’t permit the Nuggets to outwork them on the boards.
Effort and Vitality for 48 Minutes – The Celtics should be the extra aggressive group. They should combat for free balls, defend aggressively, be aggressive in driving to the basket, and simply play tougher than the Nuggets for the complete recreation. They should be the group that desires it extra and play prefer it. They particularly have to start the sport with power and never permit the Nuggets to race out to an enormous lead they usually can’t let up all through the sport. They particularly have to come back out sturdy within the third quarter and play exhausting till the ultimate buzzer. .
Transfer the Ball Fastidiously – The Celtics must maintain transferring the ball to search out the open man and make it a lot tougher to protect them. Nevertheless, they should watch out with their passes and never flip the ball over because the Nuggets common 16.1 factors per recreation off turnovers. The Celtics additionally must be cautious once they dribble the ball and never drive right into a crowd and switch the ball over.
House Sport – The Celtics are as soon as once more residence and they need to get a lift from the house crowd. That is their second straight residence recreation so that they get pleasure from not having to journey additionally. The Nuggets are taking part in within the 2nd recreation of a 5 recreation street journey and could also be getting street weary, though they’ve had 2 days off since their final recreation. Additionally they have the distactions of journey, staying in resorts, and taking part in in entrance of a hostile crowd. And, they’re taking part in with out the assistance of their mile excessive environment.
Officiating – I do know that I say this each recreation, however the officiating can all the time be an x-factor. Each crew calls the sport in a different way whether or not they name each little ticky tack foul or they let quite a lot of contact go and let the groups play. The refs appear to be fast to name techs and various odd infractions this season. We now have already seen video games the place the officiating made a distinction within the consequence, each good and unhealthy. The Celtics have gotten to regulate to the best way the sport is being referred to as and never let the calls have an effect on their focus or their play.