Welcome to TD Garden, where the Boston Celtics (45-25) will take on the Denver Nuggets (47-24) at 7 p.m.
Tonight's game is big for the Celtics -- not big in the standings, but big in the proving-they-haven't-reverted-back-to-bad-form-and-proving-they-can-still-beat-good-teams kind of big. If the C's perform well tonight, Monday's loss in Utah can be attributed to fatigue at the end of a road trip. If the Celtics come out flat, or worse, blow a double-digit lead against Denver, then the Utah loss will be viewed as the re-awakening of an old pattern.
The Celtics catch the Nuggets on the second night of a back-to-back, Denver losing to the Knicks in New York last night. Old friends Bill Walker and J.R. Giddens combined to play 44 minutes in that game for New York -- 15 more minutes than Walker played all season as a Celtic. This is the second game of Denver's five-game East Coast swing, with the Nuggets looking to hold onto the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
It's mentioned in just about every story about the Nuggets, but Denver is battling much more than the schedule in the last few weeks of the regular season. Coach George Karl could miss the rest of the regular season to undergo treatment for throat cancer. These treatments are, to put it mildly, hideous. If you have a chance, read Rick Reilly's piece on what Karl is going through. It will make you admire the man, and his team, that much more.
There's no easy transition from that, but tonight's game will be played without Karl on the sidelines for Denver. And it will be played early -- a 7 p.m. start for national television. So don't forget to tune in.
Not much action here at the Garden at this hour. Shelden Williams is the lone player on the parquet right now, putting up jumpers. We'll have more for you from the Garden in a bit.