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Game 35 preview: Suns at Celtics

Posted by Gary Dzen, Boston.com Staff  January 9, 2013 02:57 PM

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There's been plenty of excitement around here this week. If you look past the Kevin Garnett-Carmelo Anthony feud and Rajon Rondo's suspension -- and you should -- you'll see a Celtics team that has won three straight games over playoff teams. The way they've won those games has also been inspiring. Avery Bradley has injected a team-wide enthusiasm for defense up and down the roster, and Boston's effort at Madison Square Garden Monday night was nothing less than stirring. Don't look now, but the Celtics are now 10th in the league in defensive rating.

While fireworks aren't expected tonight from a Phoenix Suns team that is on the outside of the playoffs, a regular, mid-week game will give us a chance to continue to evaluate how the Celtics are playing without all the fluff. Tonight's is the first of five consecutive home games for Boston.

Here are the details for Wednesday night's game:

Tip-off: 7:30 p.m.
Records: Celtics (17-17), Suns (12-24)
Broadcast info:CSNNE (Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn), WEEI/93.7 FM (Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell)

Probable starters:

Celtics: PG: Rajon Rondo SG: Avery Bradley SF: Paul Pierce PF: Brandon Bass C: Kevin Garnett

Suns: PG: Goran Dragic SG: Jared Dudley SF: P.J. Tucker PF: Luis Scola C: Marcin Gortat

Story lines:
A look at Gortat: Suns center Marcin Gortat has been mentioned as someone the Celtics might want to pursue in a trade. He'd slot in perfectly beside Kevin Garnett and add toughness to the team's frontcourt. As it stands now, he and Luis Scola form a formidable frontcourt for Phoenix. Gortat is worth watching closely tonight.

Turn up the offense: We talked about the defense, but the Celtics' win over the Knicks was their first 100-point effort in nine games. The C's rank 22d in the NBA in offensive rating. Can they put it all together?

Perspective: One year ago today, Jeff Green had surgery to repair an aortic aneurism. Green is back and playing well, and given the timeline there's a very real chance that he continues to get better.

@GlobeGaryDzen

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