Celtics-Timberwolves preview: Going without the captain?

Celtics-Timberwolves preview: Going without the captain?
April 1, 2013, 10:45 am
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NEW YORK – Another opponent, another possible new lineup for the Celtics.

If Doc Rivers has his way, Paul Pierce (ankle) will not play tonight. That would mean the Celtics would once again trot out a new starting lineup, which (along with suffering injuries) seems to be one of the few constants with this team this season.

And with all that change comes inconsistency, not only in terms of the Celtics' play, but the bottom line -- winning games.

Boston comes into tonight's game having lost six of their last eight games which is not exactly the kind of basketball you want to be playing this late in the season.

But the C's don't have a choice.

"We're working with what we got right here," C's guard Jason Terry told CSNNE.com recently. "Hopefully we'll get everybody healthy, everybody right by the time the playoffs get here."

But even if that does happen, the C's still won't have the kind of chemistry that comes about throughout the course of a season because so many of their players haven't been around that long.

Regardless, the Celtics aren't looking for sympathy.

What's the point?

"We just gotta get through it," Pierce said. "Right now, it's tough for us to be consistent with the injuries. We're changing the lineup pretty much every other night. We got 10 games, 9 games left in the season. Gotta get through them and get ready for the playoffs."

Here are some other factors to consider heading into tonight's game against the Timberwolves.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR: With Kevin Garnett (left foot inflammation) out and Paul Pierce (ankle) questionable, someone besides Jeff Green needs to have a big game for the Celtics tonight.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Jeff Green vs. Derrick Williams. Green continues to play at a high level for Boston as he comes into tonight's game off a game-high 27 points against New York. Williams has been an inconsistent scorer most of this season. After tallying a career-high 28 points against Chicago on March 24, he totaled 27 points total in his next three games.

PLAYER TO WATCH: Courtney Lee is still not back to being himself after missing a couple games with an ankle sprain, but he's trending in the right direction after scoring 10 points to go with four rebounds and a blocked shot against New York on Sunday.

STAT TO TRACK: Minnesota will look to become the latest team to beat up the Celtics on the boards. The Timberwolves come into tonight's game ranked ninth in the league in rebounds per game with 51.3. The C's are a distant next-to-last in the NBA, with 47.6 per game.