Celtics - Bobcats preview: Limiting mistakes key for C's

Celtics - Bobcats preview: Limiting mistakes key for C's
March 12, 2013, 9:30 am
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Throughout the course of an 82-game NBA season, every team will suffer a bad loss or two along the way.

For Boston, their last foray into the Queen City was indeed one of those moments.

The Bobcats have been among the worst teams in the NBA all season, but that didn't stop them from handing the C's a 94-91 loss on Feb. 11.

In just about every category of substance, the Bobcats had an edge. But nothing spoke to what transpired than the fact that all five Celtics starters had a negative plus/minus ratio for the night, ranging from Avery Bradley's minus-3 to Brandon Bass and Paul Pierce each having a minus-10 rating.

There's no question the C's will come in not just looking for payback, but more importantly, getting themselves back on track after a disappointing 91-79 loss at Oklahoma City on Sunday.

Although the Thunder are one of the league's best teams, the Celtics came away feeling as though their mistakes and not so much what the Thunder did, ultimately sealed their fate.

"We were bad all game offensively," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers. We had bad switches on defense in the first half and offensively the ball stuck a lot. We were forcing things and got the ball stuck at times."

And with all that, plus 19 turnovers through three quarters of play, the C's trailed by just three points going into the fourth.

"We're showing that we can compete against pretty much anyone," Pierce said. "But we have to bring our A-game most of the time."

And that means against all teams, even the lowly Bobkitties.

Here are some other factors to keep an eye on as the Celtics prepare to face the Bobcats who come in having lost 10 in a row.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:  Unforced mistakes was a major player in the Celtics' loss at Oklahoma City, as they turned the ball over 19 times which led to 19 Thunder points. But the fourth quarter of that game saw the C's not commit a single turnover, something they need to do more of against a Charlotte team which forces more than 14 turnovers per game.

MATCHUP TO WATCH:  Kevin Garnett vs Bismark Biyombo: The Big Ticket will be looking for a Big bounce-back game against the Bobcats. Against the Thunder on Sunday, Garnett had 10 points on 5-for-19 shooting. It was only the fifth time this season he took 19 or more shots in a single game, with his five made baskets on Sunday being the fewest made in such games. Biyombo is not a scorer, but his rebounding, defense and shot-blocking make him someone that Garnett and the rest of the Boston bigs have to pay attention to.

PLAYER TO WATCH: B.J. Mullens was the best player on the floor when these two met last month, which says more about how poorly the C's played than it does Mullens' game. The 7-foot big man put up some ridiculous video game-like numbers (25 points, 18 rebounds and four assists) that you can bet caught the eye of the C's coaching staff who are sure to make limiting his effectiveness a much greater priority.

STAT TO TRACK: The Celtics' recent run of success has included them doing a better job at shooting 3s. Although they rank 22nd in the league this season shooting 35 percent on 3s, the C's have stepped it up of late while connecting on 40.7 percent of their 3s in the last six games which is tied for fifth in the NBA during that span according to nba.com/stats.