Weekly Preview: C’s play three struggling foes at home

Who: Charlotte Hornets
When: Monday
Where: TD Garden
TV: CSN New England
Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub

Breakdown: Boston is already 2-0 against the Hornets this year, but the injury cloud is still looming over their heads. Tyler Zeller is still out with an illness while the status of Avery Bradley and Kelly Olynyk is still up in the air as we get closer to game time. Believe it or not, Zeller is the team leader in rebounds per possession and Charlotte is fifth in the NBA with 45.3 boards per game and now the Celtics could be relying on Jordan Mickey to give them another boost off the bench after he was only able to snag two rebounds in a spot start last week. One thing that’s helping Boston regardless of their injury situation is the fact that the Hornets have been bad recently. Charlotte has fallen to .500 after losing six of their last seven and they’ve been 0-5 on the road during this stretch. They’ve played really poorly away from “The Hive” all season long and their 88 points – despite having many second chances thanks to a whopping 16 offensive rebounds – during their last trip to the TD Garden sticks out as one of their worst offensive outings of the season. Maybe the Celtics inability to control the glass will keep Charlotte in this game, but there’s still no excuse for a red hot Boston squad to lose this one when their opponent has been one of the worst teams in the NBA over the past two weeks.

Prediction: Celtics win 110-102

 

Who: New York Knicks
When: Wednesday
Where: TD Garden
TV: CSN New England
Radio: 100.7 WZLX

Breakdown: The Celtics will once again take on an ice cold opponent who they are already 2-0 against on the season and it’s possible that there are no more concerns surrounding Bradley and Olynyk by this game, making things even easier for Boston. It’s almost impossible to believe that New York was only a game behind Boston when the two teams met on Christmas Day late last month, because the Celtics are now 7.5 games ahead of them as each of them have looked liked completely different teams since their holiday showdown; but when notoriously bad shooter Marcus Smart hits a corner three in the final minute to snap a tie, you can almost foresee a team falling apart in the aftermath of that. The Knicks are just 2-10 since Christmas – including that game – and the Celtics should be licking their chops heading into this one. Kristaps Porzingis has been in and out of the lineup for the past few weeks with an Achilles issue of his own and if he’s not able to suit up for this one then it could wind up getting ugly.

Prediction: Celtics win 112-97

 

Who: Portland Trail Blazers
When: Saturday
Where: TD Garden
TV: CSN New England
Radio: 98.5 The Sports Hub

Breakdown: Evan Turner will be making his return to Boston for this one. Although he won’t go down as a Celtic legend, Turner was a fan favorite during his two year stint in Beantown and he will likely be warmly welcomed back by the fans. People had high hopes for the Trail Blazers this year after they put up a strong effort against the Golden State Warriors in the second round last year last spring, but they’ve been one of the league’s biggest disappointments this year at just 18-24…which is weirdly good enough to get them a playoff spot right now in the Western Conference. Portland is just 5-8 against Eastern Conference teams and they’re 6-16 against team’s above the .500 mark, so clearly this team isn’t close to what anybody expected. As the Celtics get further and further away from all these injuries hampering them, it should be even easier for them to field a complete lineup as they look to post a perfect 3-0 weak with home games against three struggling opponents.

Prediction: Celtics win 104-99

 

Bonus!!!! Let’s remember the Evan “Captain Clutch” Turner-era real quick!

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