Celtics-Bobcats preview: Looking for a little revenge

Celtics-Bobcats preview: Looking for a little revenge
March 16, 2013, 10:15 am
Share This Post

BOSTON — No matter who the opponent, every coach has some concerns.

For Doc Rivers, the 'To worry about' list does not include overconfidence even if the opponent is the worst team in the NBA.

That old sports cliche about any team can win on any given day?

The C's know this all too well, having lost twice already to a Charlotte Bobcats club that has been at the bottom of the NBA heap most of this season.

And while this has been yet another difficult season for the Bobcats, Rivers expects them to come into tonight's game feeling very good about their chances of beating the C's.

"They're going to have great confidence against us," Rivers said.

The first loss to Charlotte this season came on Feb. 11, less than 24 hours after the C's pulled out a thrilling 118-114 triple overtime win over Denver.

But the most recent defeat to the Bobcats, a 100-74 loss on March 12, was shocking both in the outcome and the decisive nature in which it came about.

Even with Paul Pierce (coaches decision) getting the night off, there's no rhyme or reason as to why the Celtics came out and played so pitiful.

Regardless of what the circumstances were in the losses, Rivers knows that means nothing to the Bobcats.

"When you beat a team, they don't care about the excuses," Rivers said. "They know they beat you."

Here are some factors to keep tabs on tonight as the Celtics look to extend their home winning streak to 11 straight and at the same time, exact a little bit of revenge on a Charlotte team that handed them one of their worst losses of the season.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: No matter what the Celtics say, they will come into tonight's game with a serious chip on their shoulders. They want to win, of course. But it would not be all that shocking if the C's opened the game with a furious surge and not let up until the final horn sounds.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Courtney Lee vs Gerald Henderson: After lighting the C's up for a career-high 35 points, you can bet all eyes will be on Henderson every time he touches the ball. Lee will start out on him, but you can expect Avery Bradley will spend some time defending him as well. "He (Henderson) had a great game," Bradley said after the March 12 loss. "We won't let it happen again, I know that."

PLAYER TO WATCH: Brandon Bass seems to have figured out what he has to do most nights to help the Celtics be successful. His rebounding of late has been instrumental, but he's starting to do a better job of knocking down shots when the opportunity presents itself, too. "Brandon is understanding what we need from him," said Celtics forward Paul Pierce. "There are going to be nights when he doesn't get the ball as much, he's not going to get as many shot attempts. He's figured it out. He has to be better defensively. He has to find other ways to help affect the ball game. That's what you're seeing with his rebounding and defense."

STAT TO TRACK: Scoring points in the paint has been a challenge all season for the Celtics whose 37.6 points in the paint per game average ranks 27th (out of 30 teams) in the NBA. The C's struggles in this area was a major factor in their 26-point loss at Charlotte earlier this month. In the C's 100-74 loss on March 12, Boston had just 24 points in the paint compared to 40 for Charlotte.