Celtics-Bobcats preview: Looking for revenge

Celtics-Bobcats preview: Looking for revenge
November 25, 2013, 11:45 am
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When you've lost twice as many games as you've won, the list of teams you're looking to pay back can be lengthy.

For the Boston Celtics (5-10), feelings toward the Charlotte Bobcats are a little different. When the two met on Nov. 13, it was the first game all season in which the Celtics had a better record than their opponent. And on top of that, Boston came into that game with a season-best four-game winning streak.

Not only did the Celtics lose 89-83, but they trailed the entire game -- a first for them this season. That loss set into motion a six-game losing streak that did not come to an end until Boston rallied from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter to defeat Atlanta 94-87.

As good as it felt for the Celtics to get that over the Hawks, they know all too well that they can't feel too good about themselves especially against a Charlotte team that already showed them what can happen if you're not ready to play well.

"The moment you lay off the gas, bad things happen," said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens. "The team we play (tonight) beat us at home. Hopefully we'll play better than we did last time."

Said Avery Bradley: "We owe those guys, honestly."

Here are some other keys to tonight's game:

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Making this into a high-scoring affair will work in the Celtics' favor. The Bobcats are just one of three teams in the NBA this season that's averaging less than 90 points scored per game.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Jared Sullinger vs Al Jefferson: Sullinger (bone bruise, right knee) sat out their first matchup earlier this month, and the Celtics sure could have used him. Sullinger has stepped up his game against some of the top centers in the NBA this season. The same should be expected tonight against Jefferson.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Jordan Crawford had a double-double at Atlanta. The game before that, he scored a season-high 24 points. Finding a balance between his play in those two games would do wonders both for him and the Celtics going forward.

STAT TO TRACK: A key put-back basket by Al Jefferson was instrumental in Charlotte's win at Boston on Nov. 13. No surprise, the Bobcats are among the NBA's top 10 in second-chance points, currently ranked 9th at 14.4 points per game. And that plays into one of the Celtics' biggest weaknesses. Opponents have averaged 15.5 second-chance points per game against Boston, the third-highest mark in the NBA.