Friday, November 9, 7:30 PM (EST) at TD Garden, Boston, MA
TV: Comcast SportsNet Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic FM | Live Stats
NOTE: Comcast SportsNet HD is now on XFinity® Channel 847
by Warren Croxton and Max Rappaport
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
F-C Kevin Garnett vs. F-C Lavoy Allen
The breakout moment of forward-center Lavoy Allen's rookie season came during last season's Eastern Conference Semifinal playoff series against the Boston Celtics. Drawing the tough assignment of guarding big man Kevin Garnett, the Temple alum more than held his own against the future hall of famer.
Garnett has served the role of matchup nightmare since entering the league as the fifth-overall pick in the 1995 Draft. An impressive midrange shooter, the 6-11 big man attempted 63% of his shots from outside nine feet last season. He finished second in the league among power forwards last year in field goals made from 16-23 feet (172) and tied for second in field goal percentage from that distance (48.0 FG%).
Lavoy Allen's playing time fluctuated throughout his rookie season, as he became acclimated to the pace and flow of the league. By the time the playoffs rolled around, though, Allen had entrenched himself as a key member of head coach Doug Collins' frontcourt rotation. When the two were on the court at the same time during their 2012 playoff series against one another, Garnett’s scoring dropped nearly two points and his shooting percentage fell by over five percent compared to his playoff averages.
What'd They Do Last Year?
After going 15-17 in the first half of last season, head coach Doc Rivers’ squad went 24-10 the rest of the way to capture the Atlantic Division crown. The fourth-seeded Celtics defeated the Atlanta Hawks in six games in the first round of the playoffs. Facing a familiar foe in the next round, they defeated the Sixers in a hard-fought seven game series. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics went up 3-2 on the Miami Heat, with a chance to clinch the series at home. However, the Heat, led by the inspired play of MVP Lebron James, took the next two games and went on to win the NBA Championship.
It was an interesting offseason for the Celtics, as they retooled much of their roster. One of the original members of the Boston Three Party, Ray Allen, signed with the Miami Heat as a free agent, while key role players Mikael Pietrus, Jermaine O’Neal, and Marquis Daniels also left. Entering the fold for Boston are veteran guards Jason Terry and Leandro Barbosa, who both provide experience and a scoring spark off the bench, as well as big man Darko Milicic and rookie bigs Kris Joseph, Fab Melo, and Jared Sullinger to add size. Jeff Green also returns to the Celtics after missing all of last year because of a heart condition.
LAST TIME THEY MET
5/26/2012 - Sixers 75, Celtics 85 (Game Seven, Eastern Conference Semifinals)
All five of Boston's starters reached double figures in scoring, as the C's took Game Seven in Beantown to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals against Miami. Point guard Rajon Rondo notched a triple-double (18 points, 10 assists, and 10 rebounds) and Kevin Garnett accomplished a double-double (18 points and 13 rebounds). Swingman Andre Iguodala led the Sixers in scoring with 18 points. Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday finished with 15 points, nine assists, and five steals in the loss. After Paul Pierce fouled out with 4:16 to go and Boston up only three points, Rajon Rondo scored nine of the game’s next 11 points to seal the win.