Celtics - Pelicans preview: C's must improve at home

Celtics - Pelicans preview: C's must improve at home
January 3, 2014, 12:15 pm
Share This Post

BOSTON — December was supposed to be the Boston Celtics' time to get on a roll, as the scheduling gods hooked them up with nine of 12 games at the TD Garden.

Sadly, the Celtics were a pedestrian 6-6 in December which included a less-than-stellar 5-4 record at home.

For this group, winning more games at home should have been their collective New Year's resolution.

Boston's Gerald Wallace wants to win more games, obviously.

But he's not exactly one to buy into the whole New Year's resolution thing.

"Nah. Ain't no use in lying to yourself," Wallace told CSNNE.com when asked about making New Year's resolutions. "You try to set goals, 'I'm gonna try and do this in 2014.' It'll only last a month and a half, so I don't make resolutions."

Still, he does recognize a much-desired change for the Celtics in 2014 would be to do a better job at defending their home turf.

Currently the Celtics are 8-9 at home.

"That's huge," Wallace said of winning home games. "We haven't done as good a job at that as we need to. We've had too many games where we didn't have the effort we need to have to win, or we just didn't execute as well as we should have.

He added, "but yeah, we definitely have to find a way to play better at home."

Here are some other keys in tonight's game:

WHAT TO LOOK FOR:  For the second time in as many nights, the Celtics will have their hands full against a team that does a really good job of crashing the boards. New Orleans is 12th in the NBA field goal percentage (45.5) but third in field goals made (39.7) per game courtesy of averaging 13.4 offensive boards per game which ranks third in the league.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Avery Bradley vs. Eric Gordon: The last two games, Bradley has missed 15 of his 20 shots from the field. Meanwhile, Gordon isn't scoring as much as he has in the past. But he has more talent around him in All-Star Jrue Holiday and emerging stud Anthony Davis. Even more significant, Gordon has been healthy enough to appear in all but three games this season.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Jeff Green had a rough month of December when he averaged just 14.3 points per game. The New Year didn't look any better in Boston's 94-82 loss at Chicago on Thursday as he scored 11 points on 5-for-18 shooting. Pelicans small forward Al Farouq-Aminu is one of the more favorable matchups Green will see this month. He would be wise to take advantage of it as often as possible tonight.

STAT TO TRACK: Getting to the free throw line has to be a priority for Boston, especially against New Orleans. The Pelicans defense is second-to-last in the NBA in free throw attempts allowed at 26 per game. Meanwhile, the Celtics average 22.3 free throws in victories, but just 19 when they lose.