Coach Doc Rivers said Sunday that the Bobcats "play hard as hell", but what else is the Celtics coach supposed to say? This game is there for the taking and should continue Boston's winning streak if they play well.
The Celtics occupy the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference, but the field has narrowed quite a bit with Miami and New York slipping. Boston is two games behind fifth-place Atlanta and just 5.5 games behind the first-place Heat with 46 games to play. With the way they're playing, the Celtics have a very real chance to finish the season in the top half of the bracket rather than the bottom.
Don't blink tonight or you might miss the Kemba Walker-Avery Bradley matchup. Here are the details for the game:
Tip-off: 7:30 p.m.
Records: Celtics (19-17), Bobcats (9-27)
Broadcast info:CSNNE (Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn), WEEI/93.7 FM (Sean Grande and Cedric Maxwell)
Celtics: PG: Rajon Rondo SG: Avery Bradley SF: Paul Pierce PF: Brandon Bass C: Kevin Garnett
Bobcats: PG: Kemba Walker SG: Gerald Henderson SF: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist PF: Hakim Warrick C: Bismack Biyombo
Unsung heroes: Jared Sullinger is averaging 9.3 rebounds per game in the month of January. He and Avery Bradley have been the obvious reasons for Boston's recent improvements, but don't sleep on Courtney Lee, who is shooting 59 percent from the field in six January games.
Local boy returns: Jeff Adrien, former Brookline High and UConn product, had his contract guaranteed for the rest of the season by the Bobcats last week. An undersized power forward in the mold of Sullinger (loose comparison), Adrien has appeared in 10 games and is averaging 2.9 points and 4.1 rebounds.
Still climbing: The Celtics are now ninth in the league in defensive rating after being in the middle of the pack for much of the season. How high can they go?