Celtics ready for Nuggets adjustments

Celtics ready for Nuggets adjustments
February 18, 2013, 8:25 pm
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DENVER When Rajon Rondo went down for the season with a torn right ACL injury, there was a sense of uncertainty as to how the Celtics would play without him -- both among the C's players as well as their opponents.

Losing a player who dictated the team's play the way Rondo did forced a number of players to try to add a little something more to their game to make up for his absence.

Those kind of adjustments often take time to develop.

Nine games later -- eight of which were Celtics wins -- it's clear that the C's figured out quickly how to manage the game and even more important, be successful in doing so.

But this upcoming road trip that begins on Tuesday against the Denver Nuggets, will present the first real challenge of sorts for these new-look Celtics since they have been playing so well.

The first two opponents on this five-game West coast swing -- Denver and the Los Angeles Lakers -- are both teams that Boston defeated during its season-best seven game winning streak.

It will mark the first time since the Rondo injury that the C's will face an opponent for a second time. While it may not seem like that huge a deal, remember that this league is all about adjustments.

The C's have to come into these next couple of games knowing the element of surprise is no longer on their side.

"You're right, this league is all about making adjustments," C's Courtney Lee told CSNNE.com shortly before the All-Star break. "All we're going to be focused on is continuing to play good basketball, play with each other and for each other every minute we're on the court."

But first things first. Boston must put its thoughts squarely on the Nuggets, who came into their previous meeting having won nine in a row, while the C's had won six straight at the time.

The two teams played one of the best games of the season, a thrilling 118-114 triple overtime win for Boston.

A key in the victory was Boston's ability to limit the high-scoring Nuggets to less than a 100 points in regulation.

The Nuggets will surely look for ways to push the tempo more on Tuesday, as well as feed off their home crowd which has helped Denver get off to an impressive 22-3 record, including wins in their last seven at the Pepsi Center.

Boston's Kevin Garnett said he hasn't given much thought to the adjustments the Nuggets will make in this second and final matchup between the two this season.

"Mentally you have to be ready for Denver," Garnett said. "Their pace is incredible, especially at home. We just have to be ready; that's what it is."