It’s been a streaky month in the NBA, with Dallas, Miami and New York all rattling off monster winning streaks early this December. The Celtics are just barely still among the NBA’s hottest streakers.
The C’s survived Thursday night in Philadelphia for their ninth consecutive win, emerging with a 102-101 edge in the final seconds on a dramatic bucket from Kevin Garnett. They remain unbeaten since Nov. 21, and they’ll look to keep that run intact as they visit the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday. The ‘Cats are finishing up a back-to-back after losing to the Pacers on Friday night. Charlotte has won just three of its last nine games.
WHEN AND WHERE
Celtics at Bobcats
Saturday, Dec. 11, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte, N.C.
- The Celtics have won their last four meetings with the Bobcats. Their last loss was on Jan. 6, 2009, when the ‘Cats pulled off a 114-106 upset in overtime on their home floor.
- The Celtics are banged up coming into this one. Shaquille O’Neal missed Thursday’s game with a sore calf, and his status for Saturday is unknown, while two other starters — Rajon Rondo and Paul Pierce — are playing through minor ailments as well. It’s hard to say what we can expect from the C’s starting five.
- Tyrus Thomas missed the Bobcats’ Friday night contest at Indiana with tightness in his left quadriceps. If he can’t go Saturday, expect Charlotte to be a little thin up front.
- Semih Erden made his first career NBA start in the Celtics’ win Thursday night over the Sixers. He got into foul trouble and played only 18 minutes, finishing with eight points and three rebounds.
- Rajon Rondo had 19 points and 14 assists against the Sixers for his 11th double-double of the season.
- Stephen Jackson is having a career year as a shooter. He’s shooting 90.1 percent from the free-throw line and 40.3 percent from 3-point range this year. Both are career highs.
The Bobcats are stylistically similar to the Celtics — they control the pace, they move the ball, and they get the bulk of their offense from two savvy veterans on the wings. Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson are the two stars that make Charlotte’s offense go, so it’ll be up to Paul Pierce and Ray Allen to step up and neutralize the deadly duo. The Celtics are the deeper team, though, and they’ve got what it takes to outlast the Bobcats in the end.