Celtics Hope to Stay Undefeated With Hornets at Home

Celtics Hope to Stay Undefeated With Hornets at Home Two nights after facing off with Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo is set for a meeting with yet another of the NBA's most explosive young point guards — this time, it's Chris Paul, the Hornets' fifth-year starter and perennial MVP candidate at a ripe 24.

Rondo got the best of Rose, but Paul will be an even bigger challenge. If the Celtics are to earn their fourth win, they'll have to survive the Hornets' up-tempo brand of basketball on Sunday night.

When and Where

Sunday, Nov. 1, 6 p.m. ET (CSNE
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

Records

Celtics (3-0, 1st place in Atlantic Division)
Hornets (1-1, 5th place in Southwest Division)

Head To Head

The Celtics last lost to the Hornets on Mar. 22, 2008, in New Orleans. They're undefeated in three meetings since then, including two last season. Most recently, the C's rode a 30-point effort from Paul Pierce to an 89-77 victory in New Orleans on Feb. 11, 2009.

Skinny

Under the leadership of Chris Paul on the floor and Byron Scott on the sidelines, the Hornets have made the playoffs easily in each of the last two years. Paul and dynamic power forward David West make up a solid 1-2 punch, and the Hornets' trade this summer for center Emeka Okafor should solidify their defense inside. This is a solid Hornets team that could compete with the three Texan powerhouses in the Southwest Division this season.

Projected Starters

Celtics
Point guard: Rajon Rondo
Shooting guard: Ray Allen
Small forward: Paul Pierce
Power forward: Kevin Garnett
Center: Kendrick Perkins

Hornets
Point guard: Chris Paul
Shooting guard: Morris Peterson
Small forward: Julian Wright
Power forward: David West
Center: Emeka Okafor

Stat Sheet

Celtics
The Celtics were 8-2 against the Southwest Division last season.

They lead the NBA so far this season with 32 three-pointers.

Paul Pierce has made 10 threes, most in the NBA.

Rasheed Wallace has attempted 20, second-most in the NBA.

Rajon Rondo leads the NBA with 37 assists.

Kendrick Perkins leads the NBA with eight blocks.

Kevin Garnett has averaged 19.2 points, 11.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists in his career against the Hornets.

Ray Allen has averaged 22.3 points per game against them.

Hornets
The Hornets were 19-11 against the East last year.

They have 76 total rebounds this season, third lowest in the NBA.

Chris Paul is fourth in the NBA with 28.5 points per game.

David West is third in the NBA with six steals.

Emeka Okafor is averaging a double-double (14.5 points and 11.5 assists) through two games as a Hornet.

Morris Peterson has made two of seven three-point attempts this season.

James Posey averages 7.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game against the Celtics, his former team.

Julian Wright has faced the C's four times, with a total of six points and four rebounds in just over 30 minutes of playing time.

Black and Blue

Celtics
Glen Davis
is out indefinitely with a thumb injury. The Celtics opted this week not to suspend Davis for his role in the altercation that caused the injury.

Tony Allen, who is day-to-day with an ankle injury, has not yet played for the Celtics this season.

Brian Scalabrine has been dressing with the team, but has yet to play. He is day-to-day with a sprained ankle.

Hornets
Emeka Okafor sprained his right toe on Oct. 2 and missed two weeks of the preseason, but he is now back in action.

The Hornets considered Julian Wright's regular-season status doubtful because of knee injuries in October, but Wright hasn't skipped a beat this season. He's played 57 minutes in the team's first two games.

This Date in Celtics History

In 2008, the Celtics suffered their first loss last season. After a pair of impressive wins over Cleveland and Chicago, the C's suffered an embarrassing setback in Indiana, losing 95-79 to a bad Pacers team, as five of their players scored in double figures. Their response? The C's then rattled off 25 wins in their next 26 games. Not a bad way to bounce back from a loss.

Overheard

"You still have to be careful, because you have to keep their rhythm. With Kevin, like, 28 minutes are probably not enough for him to have a rhythm game. You try to figure it out as you go along. I don’t know what the minutes will be for Kevin yet. We have to figure out the least amount of minutes that Kevin can play and still be effective."
–Celtics coach Doc Rivers in the Boston Herald. Rivers is trying to rest Kevin Garnett in blowout wins to keep his knees healthy for the long haul.

Press Box

Celtics
Just a fine is just fine for Glen Davis.

Blowout wins are kind to Kevin Garnett.

Rasheed Wallace is a good fit in Boston.

Hornets
The Hornets stung the Sacramento Kings.

The team is still a work in progress.

Marcus Thornton keeps the bench warm.

NBA
No one's buying Tim Donaghy.

Trevor Ariza is a good fit in Houston.

Tyreke Evans changes the culture in Sacramento.

Outlook

This is a solid Hornets team with a burgeoning group of young, talented players, but they're no match for the experience and depth of these Celtics. New Orleans will try to run up and down the floor with their aggressive brand of basketball, but you can expect the calming presence of Kevin Garnett, Rasheed Wallace and the rest of the Celtics' veterans to win out in the end. The Celtics are in good shape looking for their fourth win.

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