Celtics-Sixers preview: Working out the kinks

Celtics-Sixers preview: Working out the kinks
February 5, 2014, 10:45 am
Share This Post
(AP Photo)

The return of Rajon Rondo has been an adjustment for all the Celtics, but no one seems to be struggling to adapt to having the four-time All-Star back more than Jeff Green.

Prior to Rondo's return, Green was averaging 16.3 points per game, which was less than a single point below his career-high average of 16.9 in 2009. Since Rondo returned to the lineup, Green's scoring average has dipped to just 13.1 points per game.

Getting the team's best playmaker and top scorer working well together certainly ranks high on coach Brad Stevens' to-do list.

"Anytime you've got your guys that are gonna play the most, you want them to play well together," Stevens said. "And I don't think it's like an unsolvable puzzle. I think, bottom line, as they play more together, and they both play better and better, then they will play better together. They complement each other well, I think."

Green has been at his best in transition while Rondo, when fully healthy, has thrived off of triggering the Celtics' fast break.

"I think I have to get comfortable with everyone," Rondo said. "Jeff and I will find our rhythm, along with myself and Brandon [Bass], and everybody else I play with."

Here are some other keys in tonight's game:

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: With Avery Bradley and Rajon Rondo on the floor tonight, look for the Celtics backcourt to pressure the ball more than we've seen all season. For the first time this year, both Bradley and Rondo are healthy enough to play at a level comparable to what we've seen from them in the past.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Jared Sullinger vs. Spencer Hawes

Sullinger has averaged 22.5 points and 14.5 rebounds in his last two games and will be gunning for a career first: three straight double-doubles. Hawes was instrumental in Philly's win over Boston last week, leading the Sixers with 20 points, which included a season-high-tying four made 3-pointers.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: Brandon Bass has been a solid contributor of late, averaging 12.4 points and 6 rebounds in Boston's last five games while shooting 63.4 percent from the field.

STAT TO TRACK: Boston has to do a better job of forcing Philadelphia into turning the ball over. In the Sixers' 95-94 win over Boston last week, Philadelphia committed just 10 turnovers -- well below its league-high average of 17.4 turnovers per game.