Celtics Return to Home Floor With Hopes to Sweep Season Series With Bobcats

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Celtics Return to Home Floor With Hopes to Sweep Season Series With Bobcats The Celtics already have taken care of business against the Charlotte Bobcats twice this season, manhandling them 92-59 in their home opener on Oct. 28 and getting the best of the 'Cats again in Charlotte on Dec. 1. Now the C's look to finish off a sweep in their season series, and they find themselves matched up with a team that's lost five of seven games since the All-Star break.

The Celtics are coming off a hard-earned win over the Pistons on the road, and they return home in search of wins on back-to-back nights. It's only the start of a grueling March for the Celtics.

When and Where

Wednesday, March 3, 7:30 p.m. ET (CSNE)
TD Garden, Boston, Mass.

Records

Celtics (37-21, first place in Atlantic Division, fourth place in Eastern Conference)
Bobcats (28-30, fourth place in Southeast Division, ninth place in Eastern Conference)

Head to Head

Dating back to the beginning of last season, the Celtics have won four of their last five meetings with the Bobcats. The two teams went to overtime twice in 2008-09, with each team winning one at home. This season, the Celtics have won each of the first two meetings handily.

Skinny

Few teams in the NBA are more exciting to watch this season than the Bobcats, who have developed a strong core group of young players and might be ready to make a run toward the top of the Eastern Conference before you know it. Gerald Wallace has quickly become one of the most athletic forwards in the NBA. Could he be the man to lead the Bobcats into the East playoffs? It's very possible.

The Celtics may have owned his matchup in the past, but the young, explosive Bobcats are sure to cause problems for the C's down the road. This team is more dangerous than it appears.

Starting Lineups

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

Bobcats
Point guard: Raymond Felton
Shooting guard: Stephen Jackson
Small forward: Gerald Wallace
Power forward: Boris Diaw
Center: Theo Ratliff

Stat Sheet

Celtics
The Celtics are 21-6 this season against teams under .500.

They have a total of 1,379 assists, fourth in the NBA behind only the Jazz, Mavericks and Suns.

Ray Allen has made 48 of his last 52 free-throw attempts.

Rajon Rondo had 11 assists in the Celtics' win over Detroit on Tuesday night. It was his seventh straight game in double figures.

Kendrick Perkins had played in every game this season until missing Tuesday night's game with flu-like symptoms. He is now tied with Allen and Rondo for the team lead in games played, with 57 of the Celtics' 58.

Kevin Garnett has 36 rebounds in his last four games.

Paul Pierce averaged 11.7 points per game on 36.1 percent shooting in February, his worst month of the season.

Bobcats
The Bobcats are 5-8 against Atlantic Division teams this season.

They are averaging 94.9 points per game, third-fewest in the NBA, more than only the Nets and Pistons.

Stephen Jackson is the Bobcats' leading scorer, averaging 21.9 points per game this season.

Gerald Wallace has played 2,375 minutes this season, tied with LeBron James for the most in the NBA.

Raymond Felton is averaging 1.7 steals per game, a career high.

Theo Ratliff is shooting 11-for-21 (52.4 percent) from the floor in his first six games in a Bobcats uniform.

Boris Diaw scored 15 points in the Bobcats' 89-84 loss to the Mavericks on Monday night. It was his 10th straight game in double figures.

Black and Blue

Celtics
Paul Pierce
returned Tuesday night from a right thumb injury. He played 29 minutes and shot 2-for-6 from the floor, finishing with nine points.

Kendrick Perkins missed Tuesday's game due to flu-like symptoms. He hopes to return Wednesday.

Rasheed Wallace is day-to-day with a sore knee.

Bobcats
Tyson Chandler
is out with soreness in his left foot and ankle.

DeSagana Diop is out with a sprained right MCL.

Nazr Mohammed is out with back spasms.

This Date in Celtics History

In 1985, Kevin McHale scores 56 points in one game, a 138-129 win over the Detroit Pistons at the Boston Garden. McHale's 56 stands as the Celtics' single-game franchise scoring record for a total of nine days — on March 12, Larry Bird scores 60 points in a win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Overheard

"I don’t think a veteran ever hurts. I think it always helps your team to have one, if it’s the right one. Every team has some holes. Shooting is one thing we can’t have enough of as far as I’m concerned. You look at some of these other teams, their shooting is ridiculous."
–Doc Rivers in Monday's Boston Globe. The Celtics' coach has implied that he would love the addition of former Spurs veteran Michael Finley.

Press Box

Celtics
The Celtics prevailed over Detroit in the fourth quarter.

Nate Robinson led the way.

Michael Finley is intriguing.

Bobcats
Michael Jordan faces a new challenge — the owner's box.

The Bobcats work on the fundamentals.

The Charlotte Observer breaks down the Tyrus Thomas trade.

NBA
Allen Iverson can't keep a job.

Gilbert Arenas is still a Wizard.

Why is LeBron James celebrating His Airness?

Outlook

Don't be deceived by the losing record or recent skid. The Bobcats are a legitimate playoff contender and shouldn't be taken lightly, by the Celtics or anyone else. They're a strong defensive team that can score in bunches if teams don't match up well with Gerald Wallace or Stephen Jackson. The onus will be on Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to stop the explosive Bobcats — and that won't be easy on the tail end of a back-to-back. The C's will need all the energy they can muster for this one.

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