Celtics-Clippers Preview: Turning the Corner

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Celtics-Clippers Preview: Turning the Corner

LOS ANGELES Although the Boston Celtics have been an uneven bunch this year in terms of how they perform, they tend to save their best work for the best teams.
And the Los Angeles Clipppers - not the Lakers, not Oklahoma City, not even the defending NBA champion Miami Heat - are the best team in the league right now.
They have the best record (22-6), the best winning streak of the season (14 straight, and counting) in addition to one of the league's best players (Chris Paul) who has shown great leadership in elevating the play of an entire team and franchise from being an NBA afterthought for years into what is now a legit NBA title contender.
"They're playing some really good basketball right now," said C's guard Courtney Lee. "We'll definitely have our hands full with them; with all the teams we face on this West coast trip, really."
While games down the road against Golden State and Sacramento will challenge the C's in many ways, the Clippers are a near and present danger that will require the Celtics to play one of their best games of the season in order to win.
Boston is among the many teams in the NBA this season that has talked about turning the corner, about evolving into the team that they envision themselves of being.
A victory in tonight's game would be a huge step forward in achieving that goal.
"Some team has to do what they say and take off," Rivers said. "I'm hoping it's us."
Here are some of the keys to tonight's game as the Celtics try to cool off the Clippers, the hottest team in the NBA.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: Keeping the game close will be essential to the Celtics' chances of winning. The Clippers are in 'show-no-mercy' mode every game which is evident by them averaging a league-best margin of victory of 9.7 points per game. During their current franchise-best 14 game winning streak, they have upped the differential to 15.4 per game.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Rajon Rondo vs Chris Paul: There's no love lost between these two, and that was before Danny Ainge unsuccessfully tried to trade Rondo to New Orleans for Paul a couple years ago. Both will play the 'it's a team game' card, for sure. But make no mistake about it; these two will do what they can to one-up the other and of course, come away with the win.
PLAYER TO WATCH: Jeff Green is the epitome of a hot and cold player this year who on some nights dominates while on others flat-out disappears. The magic number for him is 15; as in, 15 points scored. When he does that, the Celtics are 6-2 this season.
STAT TO TRACK: Boston's transition defense gets challenged every night, but few team lives on the run like the Clippers. They average 17.8 fast-break points per game which ranks third in the NBA. Meanwhile, the Celtics defense has given up 12 fast-break points per game which is the fifth-stingiest mark in the league.

Report: Belichick may be called to testify in Hernandez trial

Report: Belichick may be called to testify in Hernandez trial

Bill Belichick, identified as "William Belichick," has been added to the list of potential defense witnesses who could testify during the upcoming double-homicide trial of former Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez, according to the Boston Herald.

Per the Herald, the new list of potential witnesses for the defense also includes Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey, who was Hernandez's teammate at the University of Florida. 

Belichick, McDaniels and Pouncey aren't guaranteed to testify, but their presence on the civilian witness list makes their presence in court a possibility. 

Hernandez's trial is scheduled to start next Wednesday. He's accused of killing Daniel Jorge Correia de Abreu and Safiro Furtado back in July of 2012. Hernandez is currently serving a life sentence after being convicted of the murder Odin Lloyd in 2013.

Report: Crowder the sticking point to Butler-to-Celtics deal

Report: Crowder the sticking point to Butler-to-Celtics deal

The holdup to the Celtics acquiring Jimmy Butler from the Chicago Bulls?

Jae Crowder.

MORE TRADE TALK

So says TNT and NBA.com reporter David Aldridge on NBATV. 

Here's Aldridge comments on Crowder being the sticking point in a Butler-to-Celtics deal, via 98.5 The Sports Hub producer Brian Robb:
  

So, the Bulls inability to pry Crowder from the Celtics may be the reason that Butler is reportedly off the market. Still, a lot can change between now and the 3 p.m. Thursday NBA trade deadline.